Fruitful In Affliction
“And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Genesis 41:51-52
It seems there are times in life when we are lost and there does not seem to be a way out of our situation. We tend to forget our purpose in life, and we feel like we are in a foreign place with no map to get out. We forget about our family, friends and more detrimentally, we forget about our God.
I think back to instances in my life when I felt this way. One of those times, I was in Chicago and it definitely felt like a foreign land to me. The weather was blistering cold, the people were different, and the city was huge. The food was also different and my dad took me to get my last taste of a Jack In the Box Ultimate Cheeseburger prior to crossing the border into Illinois. There was no more Whataburger either, and my double-meat-with-cheese days would be placed on a long hold. Although I was introduced to new foods in Chicago, it just was not the same and definitely not like home.
I think of how God used that time in my life to reveal Himself to me because I was devoid of distractions. I did not have old friends around to detract me from God, and I really did not have anything else to do. It seems God spoke to me in times of uncertainty because I sought after Him. I desired to know Him, and while I was previously content just following in my parent’s faith footsteps, I now wanted God to reveal Himself to me.
He did more than that for me, and I saw answers to prayer I had never seen before. I would like to say I followed Him with all of my heart, but I was foolish and still testing God who needed no testing. As the years went by, I soon forget about Phoenix, Arizona and began to adapt to my new home in Chicago. My attitude started to change and God became real to me like never before. My faith in God became real to me, and I will always cherish those times I had with God.
I think of Joseph and how it would not be fair to compare my four years with my family in Chicago with his many years he spent in Egypt. He was hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused, and imprisoned. Joseph did not complain or grumble like I did, although I really had nothing to grumble about. He kept his eyes on God and even named his kids to show the goodness of God. God can make the desert bloom, and He can do great things in our lives even when it seems impossible. Joseph prospered and was second in command because he was humble and didn’t promote himself or his cause. James 4:10 states, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
Do you see the goodness of God in adverse situations? Do you have faith to just trust His plan even though all seems lost? Are you currently in a stage of life where you feel God has forgotten you? Have you forgotten that He can make you fruitful in affliction and through affliction? Do you realize He can make you forget your struggles? Will you trust Him today friend? Will you realize God has allowed even the hurtful things in your life for His will and purpose? May we have faith in God who is able to produce springs in the desert. Ecclesiastes 7:14 states, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set (appointed) the one over against (as well as) the other, to the end that man should find (out) nothing (that will come) after him.” God is good in all things, and may we see His goodness and praise Him for it.
Stay in the fight!