There are times when I read the scriptures and what I read seems to make sense to me. When reading Acts 5 I had the opposite reaction. The end of the chapter has Peter and other apostles being flogged for preaching in Christ's name. Their response to being flogged and imprisoned, the NLT says they were rejoicing. I have to confess, I am not sure I would be rejoicing. More directly, I know that I have not rejoiced, and it is not like I have been flogged or imprisoned for preaching. I am coming to the conclusion that I whine far too much about things that matter far too little. At the same time I fail to thank God for the things in my life that God is doing with and through me.
The key to the rejoicing of the apostles was their feelings of worthiness. They rejoiced because they say their persecution as something God determined them to be worthy of. They made a connection between being obedient and being persecuted. I expect when I am obedient that God will count me worthy of peace and keep me from persecution. However, if Acts is true, and I think it is, then we should see persecution not as something to be avoided, but as a sign of God counting us worthy of persecution.
A closing confession, I am not at this point yet. It is going to take some work to get to that point.