Joseph named his older son Manasseh for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and the family of my father.” Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering.”  Genesis 41:51-52

     These are some really interesting verses about handling suffering. First, Joseph found a way to forgive that would enable him to “forget” his troubles and his family. He didn’t mean he got amnesia; he meant that he was able to release the bitterness and unforgiveness. Amazing! But even more amazing is what he named his second son. “Fruitful.” He was saying that not only had he forgiven, but God had used his pain to produce, through him, something life-giving. Actually, not just in his character and his walk with God, but literally giving him an opportunity to bless and save people’s lives. (An opportunity that only happened because of his suffering.) 


    When I discovered these verses and was sharing them with my husband, he said that he believed the second part (fruitful) could not have happened without the first part happening (forgetting). We can only truly go forward as we let go of past pain. We can’t rewrite the past, but the future is still “up for grabs.” Will we press on to what God has planned?

      Nancy Guthrie ( Book of Hope) says, “It is one thing to experience significant suffering and to see with hindsight what God has done and how he has used it for good. It’s far more thrilling when we begin to allow God to use the suffering in our lives even while we are in the midst of it. God doesn’t want to wait until everything is perfect in your life to begin to use you. He wants you to be fruitful right now in the midst of your pain…perhaps uniquely because of your pain.”

*Are you willing to ask God to begin to use you even now as you live in a land of suffering?

God, I want to forget: I want to release my bitterness and unforgiveness and stop rehearsing my pain and truly move forward. Then, Father, make me fruitful for your kingdom—whether it’s in spite of my pain or because of my pain. You are the Power behind the possibility. Please do this work in my heart. Amen.

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