For the rest then, brethren, let us strive, let us struggle by the grace of Christ not to shame those things that have been previously mentioned: the banishments, the imprisonments, the scourgings. We may not all have been imprisoned, nor all scourged; but nevertheless the fellowship of life itself becomes a fellowship of sufferings, for if one limb suffers, all the limbs suffer with it; if one limb is glorified, all the limbs rejoice with it (1 Cor. 12:26).
What were they "suffering at present" from? They were tortured with whatever the devil threw at them, since he is always generating ways to prevent the devout from getting on with their business. He begins with minor internal or external annoyances and reaches even the highest of all evil, death.
On the following morning, the soldiers were again taken to Agricola. This time the pagan tried flattery. He began to praise their valor, their youth and strength, and once more he urged them to renounce Christ and thereby win themselves the respect and favor of their emperor.
According to the tradition about the Holy Forty Martyrs, as they were suffering in the freezing lake, they strengthened themselves and one another by saying “Winter is harsh, but paradise is sweet!” This captures the spirit and essence of Christian martyrdom, which always sees the experiences of this world in the light of the heavenly kingdom.
I believe that persons who have undergone many harsh experiences can give us encouragement because the sufferings which they and others have endured are a source of special joy. A shepherd rejoices when he sees his abundant flock gathered together; although his pen is large, he expands it to accommodate a large number of sheep. Similarly, Peter saw a throng gathered about the Lord and exclaimed, Master, the crowd surrounds you and presses upon you (Lk. 8.45).
During this time they prepared themselves for the trial of martyrdom. One of them, Cyrion by name, exhorted his fellow soldiers: "God so ordained that we made friends with each other in this temporary life; let us try not to separate even in eternity; just as we have been found plea sing to a mortal king, so let us strive to be worthy of the favor of the immortal King, Christ our God."