The land of affliction

And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”  Genesis 41:52

Joseph was a man who knew a great deal about affliction.  Betrayed by brothers, accused falsely, forgotten.  These are the things in life that can leave us scarred.  But they don’t have to.  God, who holds our times in His hand, can turn our affliction into something fruitful and glorifying to Him.  This is what God did in the life of Joseph.

It is interesting to notice how Jesus responded to times of grief.  When He learned of the death of John the Baptist, He retreated for a few moments alone.  But He didn’t stay there.

It is one of those wonderful ways of God that He often chooses to make the land of affliction a fruit-bearing land.   Our human tendency can be to isolate ourselves and nurse our wounds.  Or rehearse our wounds, thus opening them again and again.  It is  often from these broken places that God will bring life.  But we must be willing to move past the pain, the desire for vindication, the trap of self-pity, and begin to see the potential that exists in each affliction for God to be glorified.

Affliction is the common lot of all men.   We may choose to be self absorbed and waste it.  Or we may choose to cast ourselves, in the midst of the pain, at the feet of a loving God, to be a vessel that demonstrates His glory.

Here I am,  Lord.