Beryl Ching, in her article on the resurrection in Acts, mentions a time when Peter and the other Apostles were called before the Sanhedrin to give account for their witness to the resurrection. The upshot of it all was that they were flogged and then let go under orders never to speak in that name (the name of Jesus again).
The reaction of the Apostles amazes me: “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name” (Acts 5:41). I don’t know about you but I struggle to rejoice in my suffering!
Romans 5:2-5 says, “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God [The glory of God is often a synonym for the kingdom, Matthew 10:21, Mark 10:37]. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Romans 12:12 tells us, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
When the Hebrew Christians, under the strain of constant persecution, were wavering in their devotion to Christ they were told: “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” (Hebrews 10:32-34).
Notice that they “joyfully” accepted the confiscation of their property. And notice why. It was because they knew that they had “better and lasting possessions”, not at home hidden under the mattress, but in the form of eternal life in the coming kingdom of God.
If you want to be able to rejoice in your sufferings get to know more of the hope of the glory of the kingdom of God.