“So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.” (Acts 5:41)
The Apostles rejoiced in their hardships; do we rejoice? Do we rise to the occasion or fall into cynicism, bitterness, complaining, or worse? When the going gets tough; do we harden our hearts? This is all too easy a descent for our human hearts. It takes a lot more energy to smile through our difficulties—to look for the opportunity God is providing for growth in virtue and shining example amidst the darkness.
I remember one particular incident when I was confronted by a very angry person, but with a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit, I was able to keep my cool while responding. A woman who had watched the exchange remarked how she was amazed that I could be so calm in the face of bitter anger. As difficult as it had been for me to remain calm, enduring this test of patience made a deep impression on others. When we can maintain Christian charity in the face of opposition, we give witness to the Name of Jesus.
Our world desperately needs our witness of charity in the midst of suffering. Our joy is needed to turn the tide of our culture of negativity and division. Jesus needs you to give joyful witness in the trials and sorrows of daily life. May God grant us all the courage to bear our sufferings with great joy.