CAN I REALLY FORGET HARDSHIP?
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 41:51-52
If you are someone who has spent major chunks of your life in hardship, then you know how long life feels. Pain has become your ‘normal’ and the thought of living life any other way is inconceivable. Not only that, but the possibility that you would ever forget your affliction seems unlikely. Hardship has been your constant companion.
I suspect that the word for ‘forget’ is the same word that is used when God puts my sins behind his back and ‘forgets’ them. He puts them out of sight and they are no longer held up in front of my face as a reminder of what I’ve done. Memories of my sin take a back seat to the joy of walking in forgiveness.
In light of that ~ To forget former hardship is to have painful memories eclipsed by something infinitely more powerful ~ the kindness and redemption of God. It is impossible to feel the wonder of such exhilaration and, simultaneously, feel the depth of my former despair. God’s redemption is that powerful. But while I wait, all I know is the all-consuming agony of distress.
I’ve seen the fruits of powerful prayer. Some were answered overnight and others within a few months time. Many of them, in fact. But others accompanied me in God’s waiting room for a decade or two. The pain of waiting made God appear uncaring and I feared that life would never be any different. I had to fight for my faith and sound theology had to war against the reality of my emotions. But when the tide turned, when God came sweeping in with the redemption I sought, it exceeded all that I had asked for. My prayers were of one dimension; his answers were as deep as the ocean. Even now, I cannot plumb the depths of all that He has done – and will do – as a result of persevering prayer.
If you fear that the joy of answered prayer would pale in comparison to the ways affliction has ravaged your soul, expand your hope in God. If God could cause Joseph to ‘forget’ betrayal of his brothers, being sold into slavery, being unjustly accused and imprisoned for a decade, could He not surprise me with unspeakable joy?
For all the pain that still consumes me, I know that coming redemption will eclipse it all. Your love is that powerful. Amen