Unlike the concept that many American Christians have about the subject of persecution today, Paul and the believers of his day were very well acquainted with suffering affliction for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus -- and yet they still gave thanks!
These people accepted the Word that they had received as the true Word of God, and not just a story or opinion. And people saw great change in them; this Word was greatly effective in their lives. Even though the Church's enemies wanted to wipe them out and destroy them, they never gave up on their Messiah. Why? Because He was everything to them.
We can't expect that we will always be without trouble. We don't need to go out and seek to be persecuted and martyred; but we do need to imitate the early Christians of Paul's day and strengthen our relationship with Christ now, and make that relationship the basis of everything in our lives.
God is patient; and as time goes on, the persecutors of His people are only accumulating more wrath against themselves. As we see His judgment already beginning in the crumbling of our society, do we cry out to Him in prayer as we see the whole world around us rushing headlong towards hell? We were once just like them, but God has mercifully shown grace to us. Let's give thanks to Him and seek His face in all things!