How can I rejoice in suffering?


Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  1 Peter 4:12-14
            Suffering and rejoicing are polar opposites.  Who prays for suffering?  We pray for things to rejoice about.  We want things to go well in our lives and be happy.  We pray away pain and division.
            Peter, who knew a thing or two about suffering, welcomed suffering because he knew conflict caused an individual to face the facts about God, forcing a decision about whether to believe or not.  Happiness does not do that.  Happiness desires status quo, keep things as they are—don’t rock the boat.
            We don’t have to ask for suffering because it will find you on its own, whether its medical or relational, national disasters or character assassinations.  Live long enough and something bad will happen.  So, how do you react to the inevitable?
            Peter says welcome it because there is purpose to be found in the suffering.  In addition, others are watching you and have an opportunity to see God work in you through suffering.  Purpose even makes suffering more bearable as it forces us to our knees hoping that God will reveal himself to everyone involved.