Being Fruitful in Despair

grapesHave you ever found yourself at a place in life where the circumstances of the moment crowded out and overshadowed the Prophetic Promises spoken in the past? Have you ever found yourself so pressed by current adversities that you could see no path forward?

If you said yes, Joseph was certainly a person who could empathize. As a young man he literally had dreams of being a leader. In those dreams he saw his older brothers bowing down to him. I’m sure he was very excited at the prospect of a fruitful and meaningful life. I doubt he understood the course it would take to get there.

As you probably know, Joseph’s brothers didn’t think too much of those dreams and sold him into slavery. Joseph worked hard at the task he found himself in and rose to the top of the servants who worked for Potiphar. Things were looking up, but it didn’t last long.

In a scene of terrible injustice, Potiphar’s wife connived to get Joseph to compromise his integrity and to sleep with her. It is highly probable that this is not the first time such a thing happened and we can only wonder if the situation didn’t turn out well for the slaves who gave into her carnal desires.

Despite all he had been through, however, Joseph retained his integrity. He refused. When she tried to force him, he ran, leaving his cloak behind. In her rejected fury, Potiphar’s wife accused him of trying to rape her, and caused him to be sentenced to prison.

During his time in prison he used his anointing to interpret dreams for the prisoners. He thought surely his gifts would help him find a way out, but when the wine taster got out of prison as Joseph had said, he quickly forgot the man who had brought him comfort. Joseph must have had times of great disappointment and depression.

After some time however, Pharaoh needed his dreams interpreted, and the wine taster remembered Joseph. Finally, the now thirty year-old, had an opportunity to prove himself to someone who could make a positive difference in his life. Since he had not neglected his anointing in the house of Potiphar nor in the Prison, Joseph was ready for his big moment.

He correctly interpreted the dreams for Pharaoh and used his God-given wisdom to tell Pharaoh what he needed to do. After such a great display of giftedness, wisdom and integrity, Pharaoh could think of no one better to meet the task. Joseph was promoted straight from the prison to the highest position in the land next to Pharaoh. He was also given provisions and a wife.

A short time later, Joseph was blessed with two sons: Manasseh and Ephraim. They were to become lifelong praise markers for Joseph to remember what God had done. Every time Joseph spoke the name Manasseh, he was reminded of what the name sounded like in his native tongue; “God has made me forget all my troubles.” When he called Ephraim, he was reminded, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my grief.”

If you are in the land of grief today, know that God wants to help you forget your troubles and make you fruitful despite your circumstances. Hang in there, maintain your integrity, rely on God’s anointing in your life and pray for wisdom and understanding to press forward no matter what.


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