When Forgetting is not Enough
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…you will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed” (Joel 2:25, 26 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Yesterday we looked at the life of Joseph. Today, let’s take one more look at his crooked family tree. By his thirty-seventh birthday, Joseph had two sons. One he named Manasseh which means “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim, which means “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
Many years after his sons had been born; Joseph learned that his father, Jacob, was ill. So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim and traveled for one last visit. When they arrived, Jacob said, “Bring the boys to me so I may bless them.”
Joseph brought his sons to his father’s bedside. He placed Ephraim on his right toward Jacob’s left hand and Manasseh, his first born, on his left toward Jacob’s right hand. But instead of giving the blessing to Joseph’s firstborn, Jacob reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head. Joseph tried to stop his father from giving the blessing to the second born rather than the first born, but his father refused.
“I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.”…So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
What a beautiful picture. Yes, Joseph had a life of trouble and suffering at the hands of those who abused, neglected and betrayed him. But God didn’t want him to merely forget his suffering as the name Manasseh implied; He wanted him to be fruitful in his suffering.
It is the same with you and with me. God does not want us to simply forget the pain of the past. He wants us to be fruitful in the land of our suffering! Use it for good. Minister to others. Plant seeds of hope.
Dear Lord, I thank You that nothing is ever wasted in our life experiences. The world says to “just forget about it” when it comes to our past struggles. You say, “Just use it” or rather, “Be fruitful.” Show me ways that I can use what I have gone through to help other people. Give me the courage to look ahead. Make me fruitful today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now it's Your Turn
Have you simply tried to forget the past or be fruitful because of your past?
What have you gone through in your life that you could now use to help someone else?
Make a list of ways you could use what you’ve gone through to help someone else?
For more on today’s topic see Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding peace and purpose in the hurts of your past by Sharon Jaynes
Girlfriends in God, Inc.
Originally published Thursday, 05 October 2006.