From Affliction to Fruitfulness

Photo by Ömer DÖNER

Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh ( causing to forget), for he said, ” God has made me forget all my trouble and hardship and all [ the sorrow of the loss of ] my father’s household.” He named the second [son] Ephraim, ( fruitfulness)“ for he said, “ God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Genesis 41:51-52

Joseph was one of the many sons of Jacob. In his early years, God gives him a dream concerning his future. He tells his brothers that they will bow to him one day. They didn’t think that was funny. They hated him and plotted to kill him, They end up selling him as a slave to merchants who later sell him into Egypt. ( Genesis 37) In this verse after many years as a slave, he is now a prince in Egypt. Each of his children was named to remind him of what God had done.


God will help you forget

Joseph’s first son was named Manasseh, he was a testimony of God’s power in Joseph’s life. Joseph was able to forget what was unforgettable. His troubles were no longer a big part of his life. Joseph knew it was only by God’s grace that he could do so.

People say we can forgive but we cannot forget. This is partly true, we never can completely forget about our experiences. But in God, we are able to remember the past without the pain attached to it.

Forgetting here doesn’t mean Joseph had completely erased what had happened to him. It means he could remember the past and see God’s goodness in it. He could see God’s redemptive plan in all his troubles.

He could look back and praise God for all he went through because now in hindsight, he was able to see God’s purpose in them.

What do you think you can never forget? What heartache and pain from the past do you carry with you? What is that thing that makes you so bitter when you think about it at night?

God enabled Joseph to forget the horrible things that had been done to him. He is able to help us too. Sometimes, we think we will always have the wounds of the past, but God can so heal your wounds that you will one day look at the scars and smile.

Forgetting is important

There is a reason that God needed to help Joseph forget the past. There is a reason that God needed first to heal his wounds. Joseph could never move forward if he was still living in the past. Our ability to move forward into what God has called us to is tied to our letting go and healing from the past. Don’t hold on to old wounds. Don’t hold on to what people did to you or didn’t do for you. Bring it to the feet of Jesus and press in for wholeness. Without getting whole from our past wounds we will remain stuck in places God wants to move us forward from.

Joseph could never access his destiny if he was holding on to unforgiveness and bitterness. He had to get to a place of reckoning. He had to decide whether to live a bitter and angry life or receive God’s grace to forgive and move forward.

We don’t forgive to release others from what they did to us ( even though it is important). We forgive first, to release ourselves from what was done to us. Forgiveness brings us the freedom to move forward from what happened to us.

Fruitfulness is birthed in affliction

God didn’t only make him forget all his troubles, he also made him fruitful.

In God’s kingdom, we can never become fruitful without going through some things. God will allow some things in our lives because He knows the purpose that will be birthed from them.

We all have some things that we have experienced that have made us question God’s goodness for us. I have some experiences that have marked my life because they were so painful. However, out of those painful experiences God birthed an ability to write and teach people the word of God in my life. Without those things, I doubt I would be doing what I am doing today. In hindsight, I can look back at those excruciating moments in my life and see God’s goodness in them.

Affliction is not a bad thing if it leads us to fruitfulness in God. God doesn’t orchestrate the bad things. We have an enemy who hates us. We also live in a fallen world( full of sinful people), bad things are inevitable. However, God is able to use them for good in our lives. (Romans 28:8)

If you are going through trouble, be encouraged God is working to produce some great things in that.

Rename your trouble

Joseph could have named his firstborn “ trouble’ and his second born “ affliction”. Instead, he decides to put God’s grace on what wasn’t good. He renamed his trouble, “God has made me forget my trouble,” and his affliction, “God has made me fruitful”.

Begin to re-label the things you have named according to your experiences. Rename your sorrow, “God has given me abundant joy in this. Rename your disappointment, “God has restored me in this.” Rename your failure, ” God has redeemed this.” Rename your heartache, ” God has given me a new song in this.”

When we begin to speak God’s goodness over situations, we invite God to come in and bring the change. While you wait for God to do it, start by renaming it. Speak hope into what looks hopeless. Speak life to what is dead. Speak love to what is not lovely. Speak God’s goodness and faithfulness in your life until you begin to see it.

My prayer for you is that God will help you forget all your trouble. That God will heal your pain until you are able to see the past and see His amazing grace all over it. I also pray that in what has afflicted you, God will bring such fruitfulness until you can testify like Joseph.

Do have a blessed week!

Related Reads:

The furnace of preparation-Joseph

The power of forgiveness

The place of fruitfulness-Redigging the wells

From the pit to the palace

2 thoughts on “From Affliction to Fruitfulness

  1. What a wonderful message Lucy. What you wrote about forgiveness is so very true. And to rename and reduce our challenges with the goodness and grace of God is absolutely wonderful. I am going to hold onto these points.
    Blessings to you my friend 💙💐

    Liked by 1 person

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