Fruitful in Affliction
By: Jill Briscoe
I recalled that when Joseph’s second son was born, he named him Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Genesis 41:52). God can make us fruitful when He carries us into a place of affliction, but how?
He can surely use the pain, if we cooperate, to grow some of the fruit of the spirit in us – love, joy, peace, patience, and self control. I think it begins when we accept trouble with a why not? instead of why me? attitude, and when we submit to His timing, not with a why now but a thy will be done. As we learn to grow through suffering we will begin to know God, ourselves, and others better through it all, and might even develop hidden gifts of mercy and grace that will only flower in the land of our suffering.
It’s easier said than done, of course, but for those of us who seek to serve the Lord, we will discover that at such painful times, like Joseph, we have a choice. We can become fruitful or barren, become overcomers or overcome. We can allow pain to drive us to God, letting the prison show us His face. While Joseph was in the pit, God showed him His mercy – in the prison of His kindness (Genesis 39:21) and in the palace of His grace.
Sometimes we can preach the most effective sermons of our lives from the prison or the pit, simply by responding rightly to people who are responsible for bringing us into the “land of suffering.”
When our turn comes, may He help all of us to be fruitful – for His sake.
Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine.