I'm reading a great book at the moment - Faith that Endures by Ronald Boyd-Macmillan. It's probably the best book I've read on the persecuted church. The back cover says that it sets out to answer the following questions:
What does contemporary persecution look like? What is a persecuted Christian? Where is the persecuted church? How can we best assist the persecuted church? What does the persecuted church have to teach us?
And it answers those questions pretty well. Here's a quote from near the end:
So, what is the purpose of life now, in this world of beasts, lies, death and oppression? Here again the experiences of the persecuted point us unmistakalby to a vital biblical principle: God builds his kingdom not on our achievements, but on our sacrifices. It is not the fulfilled life that God takes but the yielded life. The purpose of life is to lose it for God.
Only empty hearts are filled with Jesus.
Ronald Boyd-Macmillan, Faith that Endures (p318-320)