Fruitful Suffering

“Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.””  ~ Genesis 41:52
 
Fruitful suffering.  That sounds like an oxymoron.  These words shouldn’t go together.  And if they do, we want no part of it.  We might associate with these words continued or magnified suffering.  It seems to multiply.   Why would anyone want that?  But that’s not at all what I want you to see in these words.  What I want you to see is how God can turn your burdens into blessings.  You can be blessed twice!

Joseph’s second son, Ephraim, was born to him after Joseph had been delivered from thirteen years of suffering.  Ephraim’s name, which means “twice fruitful” was chosen, Joseph tells us, because God had made him fruitful in the land of suffering.

Joseph was fruitful in his time of adversity and in his time of prosperity.  When God brings us into a time of suffering, it can be a fruitful time.  It’s rare for us to see the fruit during the suffering period.  But know that the roots are going deep into the spiritual soil of our soul because of our pressing in to God during our time of suffering.  This pressing in is producing a work in our character that cannot be seen until the process is finished.  Such was the case for Joseph.

It is often after a time of struggling and suffering that we begin to see the fruit of the trials that our Lord allowed us to experience.  As I look back with clarity I can see the hand of God upon my circumstances that has led me to new levels of spiritual growth.  If I never went through that season, I would not be where I am today. 

Samson had great anointing but lacked character.  We see many today who have great anointing yet lack character.  But God is raising up Josephs who not only have great anointing for these days but also great character.  Suffering produces character!

If you find yourself in a time of suffering, now is the time to press into God.  Let your roots grow deeper.  Whenever there is a famine, tree roots are forced to dive deeper into the soil to find water.  These times of suffering are designed to create such a deep-rooted faith that our natures will be changed forever.

Take comfort in God’s Word:  “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast!  ~ 1 Peter 5:10
 

~ Pastor Greg


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