When I imagine what it would feel like to be persecuted, I honestly don’t think of anything positive. In fact, I imagine that a lot of my initial thoughts would focus on the negative and potentially awful things that are taking place. And when I read this “blessed are you when others revile and persecute you…” I’m thinking who is blessed? Because it seems that I actually am up a river without a paddle and could use some rescuing.
But this is where I need to refocus myself on this specific biblical truth. Jesus is telling me that I am blessed for experiencing those things. And not only should I feel blessed; I should be rejoicing for my reward is great in heaven. Keeping this promise from Jesus in the back of my head enables me to demonstrate the joy and love of Christ— especially during hardships, and directly to those who may be causing the situation or injustice we are experiencing.
Is this easy to do? Is it easy to show joy to someone persecuting me? No; in fact it’s very challenging. But we have the ability to lean on God through these situations. If we were expected to navigate every situation on our own, we would not have any need for God. But in relying on Him, we can overcome, conquer, and continue to show the unconditional love of Christ. We just have to continue walking in faith, and like Peter be ready to step into the unknown and uncharted waters, relying on the Holy Spirit to help us to navigate those situations.