"So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name." A little background-this is Bible verse Acts 5:41. The disciples of Jesus had just gone before the Sanhedrin for the "crime" of proclaiming and teaching about the Messiah, Jesus. They escaped death, but were still beaten and ordered to stop speaking of Jesus.
When I read this line my first thought was, "What?!?!? They REJOICED over SUFFERING? Are these people nuts?!" A holy response, huh? In truth, I see the beauty of this verse. I desire to have this kind of faith and trust in the Lord, but, in short, I don't have it. I have a lot of fear. I tend to want to pick and choose my suffering. "Come on, Lord. Don't give me THIS cross, I would do so much better with this other cross or maybe this other one." It doesn't work this way, and thank God that it doesn't. I have become super sensitive to what I read and watch. I used to love watching CSI type shows, but now I have to turn them immediately. There are times when I'm positive that someone is going to jump me when I'm walking out of... Adoration! I mean, really, of all times to have fear, that has to be one of the most ridiculous. I can blame some of this on the media's dramatization of everything, the presence of so much real crime and evil in the world and my early exposure to "Unsolved Mysteries." (I tried to tell my dad this the other day. Dad, I think the reason that I'm scared to be home alone at night is because when you thought I was sleeping on the couch, I was really watching Unsolved Mysteries. His response, So, what do you want me to do about it now. :) This was, of course, all in jest, although there is probably some truth to it!) Yes, I can blame some of these things, but in reality, it is my lack of faith and trust of the protection of the Lord.
To rejoice in suffering is very counter cultural and I would argue, very counter to our fallen human nature. But, when we can truly accept suffering, embrace it with joy and faith, only then can we be truly open to God's ultimate outpouring of love and mercy in his divine plan for our lives.
May today you be filled with joy that can be had through Jesus Christ!