A slave is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
More than once, Paul was persecuted because of his faith. One such incident occurred in Lystra. After healing a man who was lame from birth, Paul and his companion Barnabas were hailed as gods. The two had to beg the ecstatic crowd not to worship them! All too soon, however, Jewish opposers arrived, and they used slander to poison the minds of the people. Quickly the tide turned! The people now pelted Paul with stones and left him for dead. After visiting Derbe, Paul and Barnabas “returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. There they strengthened the disciples, encouraging them to remain in the faith and saying: ‘We must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.’”
The persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in modern times is fairly well known. Perhaps the most infamous was the Nazi persecution, which is documented in the Jewish Holocaust Museum.
There was the persecution in Quebec in the 1950’s. Also, the African nation of Malawi openly attacked Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1970’s. Other instances of sanctioned persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses are listed on a Wikipedia page. (Here is a PDF document produced by the American Civil Liberties Union in 1941 documenting the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in America)
But for the most part Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy government protection. Especially has that been the case in America. Although extremely unpopular the Watchtower organization has thrived because of the constitutional guarantees, which have been the bedrock of the nation.
Of course, persecution can come in much more subtle forms, such as opposition from family or acquaintances. At times Jehovah’s Witnesses are threatened or accosted in their ministry.
But the safe haven environment afforded by so-called democratic, free nations, is only a temporary provision of God. Yes, that’s right, God has blessed America, as they say, and seen to it that there has been a relatively prosperous and peaceful environment in order to facilitate his work.