The apostles left ... rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering ... Acts 5:41
Why were the apostles happy to suffer because of the name of Jesus? Was their view of reality distorted? Not at all! Maybe they were amazed to see that they did not run for cover as they had done when Jesus was arrested and crucified. Perhaps they rejoiced because of the fresh boldness found in their renewed relationship with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus became so real to the apostles after Pentecost that they were ready to suffer and even die for him. Certainly we shouldn't be going out looking for occasions to suffer for Christ. But if Jesus has filled us with his Holy Spirit, we will have a source of joy and peace that transcends all circumstances--even if we face times of suffering.
Are you a critical, fault-finding Christian who tends to give Jesus a bad name? Are you a scared Christian who keeps his or her mouth shut in public because you don't want to "offend" unbelievers? Are you prone to anger against God when he allows suffering or difficulty in your life?
The apostles of Jesus could take life as it came to them because of the profound change in their lives. Can you also face challenges and suffering with joy, knowing that Jesus is everything for you? Are you ready to suffer for your faith, if that is God's will?
Lord, grant me grace so that I may accept suffering if you allow it in my life, knowing that you will protect and guide me in all circumstances. In Jesus' name, Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!