"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Matt 5:12
Too often we suffer from spiritual myopia. In our shortsightedness we are too focused on things that are right in front of us rather than the things that are yet to come. To our human side, this is understandable. How could one not be concerned with the things that are happening now? To our spiritual side, however, it should be another matter entirely.
Contextually, Jesus is preaching his famous sermon on the mount and relating how "blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." The two important things to note here are the fact of persecution and the reason for it.
If we are living our Christian lives correctly, we should expect to be persecuted. Jesus has said that the world will hate us because it first hated him. This will only happen, however, if you are actually doing the work of the Lord.
Beloved the point of all this assumes that we are leading Christ like lives. The encouragement is to not be downtrodden of heart. Many of our spiritual ancestors experienced the same and worse. The Savior is telling us that we should be glad to be counted worthy to suffer for his namesake. It is true that no one wants to suffer, but this is the kind of pain that comes with great gain.
Know that Christ suffered the ultimate for you. Any stripes you may endure have already been healed. If we would look just up the road a bit, we would see the light of our awaiting reward.
Loving Like Jesus,