"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." James 1:2-3 This is a tough promise, not because it isn't hopeful, but because it is difficult. Perseverance itself is inherently difficult because it includes the idea of waiting for success to be revealed. Patience is always a struggle for fallen people, and when we don't see immediate results, we easily get discouraged. Beyond this, considering trials and the testing of our faith as pure joy, is a great challenge in itself. In our present time we are experiencing many difficulties from outside and they cause many inner trials for us as well. We are tempted to become depressed, discouraged, anxious and even doubtful. At such times, we might even be tempted to abandon the Lord and His gifts of Word and Sacrament or Worship. At such times, these practices are exactly what are needed to combat the schemes of the devil and our own fallen nature. The Lord knows all this about us, and in the Book of James goes on to encourage us as to why we should be joyful, even at difficult times. God knows that persevering gives wisdom and spiritual maturity, and these gifts are far greater that any challenge we might face. More so, God has given us the promise that such difficulties will not always be, but rather, will be replaced with a great reward. From later in the same chapter of James we hear God tell us... "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." James1:12 Our God loves us, and He is faithful so that we can rejoice in all circumstances! Know that you are loved!