Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering.” – Genesis 41:52
Joseph was in his thirties when he named his son Ephraim—a name that sounds like the Hebrew word for “fruitful.” Joseph had experienced his share of suffering through his teens and twenties. He had suffered the spiteful jealousy of his siblings from his youngest days. He had been kidnapped and sold to slave traders by his brothers (Genesis 37:28), then sexually assaulted by his boss’s wife and wrongfully jailed for a crime he hadn’t committed (Genesis 39:11-20).
Yet God was not absent from Joseph’s turbulent years. He suffered the pit and the prison patiently, but then God placed him in charge of the whole land of Egypt and blessed him with a wife and children. Joseph’s life had been planted in the soil of suffering so that he might blossom into godly manhood.
The real fruit was seen in Joseph’s character—evidence of the Spirit of God in his life. Joseph showed love for his enemies, self-control with Potiphar’s wife, and long-suffering with people who forgot all about him when they had promised to help him (Genesis 40:23). God’s Spirit bore the fruit of righteousness through Joseph in Egypt. Could such fruit have been produced without the soil of suffering? Probably not. As James says, “When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything” (James 1:3-4).
Let God make you fruitful in the land of your suffering! Then you’ll be ready for anything.
For Further Study: Genesis 41:37-57
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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