"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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4).
"Test" is not my favorite word. I suspect that's true for many of you as well. From our earliest memories, we recall having to take tests - sitting in desks, no. 2 pencils at the ready, a teacher watching to make sure no eyes wandered. But tests didn't start and end with school. We are tested in our jobs, by our friends, and by people we don't even know. Now, James tells us we should even expect to be tested in our faith.
James lets us in on a little secret, however. Testing of faith is not designed for failure; it is meant to bring us "pure" joy. Through the testing of our faith we learn patience, we gain the ability to look at the big picture. James says we learn to persevere. Through our patience and our commitment to faith, our faith matures and the result is pure joy. Do you feel you're being tested? God is not the cause of the testing, but God does permit it to happen. Not so we fail, but so we find the joy of our faith.