(I found it really amusing as I read my posts of last week, how much they resembled James. Lots of emphasis on prayer and works, and very little mention of Christ himself, but there between the lines the whole time. Hmmm.)
James 1:12 Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Blessed - happy - to be envied - to be jealous of - is the person who is being crushed under trial, and persevering. That is such a bold statement. I have never once felt enviable while bearing up under trial. But then, I guess that's why James wrote it.
James doesn't give out too much encouragement, though. That crown of life doesn't come into the picture until the trial is has burned itself out. James is not telling me to covet trials after all. He is telling me that something enviable comes along the way.
It is a crown of life, and it is given to those who love Him.
I think that maybe after persevering, we learn that He has enriched us with life itself. We learn that we have lived with Him, and by Him. We reign, not because He places a crown on our heads and makes us authority figures, but because we have found Him, and He has transformed us. He bears us through it, and we are welded a little more to Him.
It is when He saves us that we learn He loves us. It is when we are not saved and endure the fiery trial though no end is in sight, that we learn we love Him.
Maybe just a little enviable.