I'd been reading through Genesis lately and it's been interesting...parts of it make me want to throw up. Parts of it make me overflowing with gratitude for who the Lord is. I just finished reading it yesterday and while I was in the middle of reading about Joseph, I couldn't help but be amazed once again at the things he went through. His life and hardships made mine look like a cake walk.
He was the favored son of his father. Yet hated by his brothers.
How often is this the case? The ones that God seems to love and favor the most, who are especially gifted, are so often the ostracized ones. The ones who others love to hate, be jealous of, and try to bring down.
Though because of who he was, he was able to rise above the crazy harsh circumstances and live above reproach. An incredible testimony. An incredible challenge to me.
I've read his story several times before, but this struck me the hardest:
Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father's house.” The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
I was struck by Ephraim's name. The fruit of affliction. Wow...
What is the fruit of my affliction? I've been blessed to be a witness to some of it in the past few weeks. Meeting with a girl who wrestles with depression. Re-living tragic death of a co-worker. Praying for someone who's dreams are confusing. Giving prophetic words for someone I had a strained relationship with. All of them reminders of where I have been and where the Lord has brought me.
Later on, Ephraim receives a greater blessing than Manasseh, even though he is the younger son.
Psalm 60:7, 108:8
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet; Judah is my scepter.
Ephraim is referred to as a helmet in the Psalms. I love that. Helmets protect our heads. What greater way to protect our heads - our thoughts - than to remember all that the Lord does in affliction. There is fruit! To remember who the Lord is! He is so good that even in the lands of affliction, he makes us fruitful. Beautiful, mysterious, perfect.