We have just celebrated Memorial Day in America. Some celebrate it as the first long weekend after winter with the hopes for three warm, sunny days to enjoy time with family and friends. For others, Memorial Day is a solemn day of heartfelt pain remembering loved ones who made the sacrifice for our nation’s freedom. They have experienced the affliction of war. They gathered together over Memorial Day but not all were present because of the cost of war.
There is an identifiable characteristic in families and individuals who have waded the depths of affliction. There is something even more unique when such challenging experiences are seen through the lens of saving faith.
Joseph had it…
“Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. 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.'”Genesis 41:50-52
What is it? It is the fruit of affliction. Having been sold into slavery, Joseph missed a lot of family events during his lifetime of confinement in Egypt. Longing for the land of his family, he referred to Egypt as the land of his affliction. Keeping a balanced perspective, this man of God celebrated the births of his sons by identifying each as one of many of the Lord’s blessings – Manasseh, God has made me forget all my hardship and Ephraim, God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.
Many in our fellowship have recently been or are currently in their own land of affliction. It may be a life-threatening medical issue, or a financial collapse, perhaps a failed relationship, the sudden death of a loved one, a career or business that is failing. Such affliction is painful and casts a cloud into the future.
Yet in the midst of this, there can be peace. Christ’s peace. Peace that comes from His abiding companionship. He knows the pain of affliction from the Cross and He knows of the pain in the cross you may be bearing right now. In His affliction He brought forth the fruit for our salvation…the forgiveness of our sin. In our afflictions the Lord seeks to produce the fruit of trust, hope and peace. May we rest in His work.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7