I love the story of Joseph. When he was seventeen years old, God gave him a vision signifying that Joseph would one day reign over his family members and beyond. Being hated by his brothers, he was sold by them into slavery and later found himself in prison after being wrongfully accused. During this time, Joseph continued to do the right thing and to trust the Lord, despite the most hopeless of circumstances, and despite it looking like God had forgotten him.
But our God is faithful, and He was preparing to do a mighty work through Joseph’s life, and to bring to pass that vision from years ago. Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt due to the famine, and they found that Joseph had become a ruler in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. God did what He told Joseph He would do. But His timing is not our timing. Joseph was thirty when he was made a ruler, which means he waited thirteen years to see the vision fulfilled.
Pharaoh had also given him a wife, and Joseph named their firstborn son Manasseh, which means ‘causing to forget’. “For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house” (Genesis 41:51). And Joseph named their second child Ephraim, which means ‘I shall be doubly fruitful’. “For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:52).
God never wastes our toil and affliction! And if we will remain faithful and obedient, and continue to trust Him, our God will give us Manasseh and Ephraim. He will do wonderful things in our lives. He will produce strength of character and great faith in us. He will bless us. We will forget the pain as we see what He can do through those years of waiting, of hardship, all for His glory! He will make us fruitful in the very places that have seemed the most hopeless. The hardest trials will produce the greatest fruit, in our lives and beyond.
May we develop the faith and character of Joseph, and thereby see God do the impossible, and bring about Manasseh and Ephraim in our lives.