Can Hardship Be Forgotten?

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 have known a life of hardship, you know how slowly time passed.  Pain was normal and the thought of living life any other way was inconceivable. The possibility that you could ever forget your affliction seemed unlikely.

I suspect that the word for ‘forget’ in today’s scripture is the same word that was used when God ‘forgets my sins and puts them behind his back.’ He places 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 eventually take a back seat to the joy of God’s forgiveness.

Considering that definition ~ 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 two things at once ~ the wonder of exhilaration and the depth of despair. God’s redemption is that powerful. But while I wait, all I know is the consuming agony of distress.

I’ve seen the fruits of powerful prayer. Some were answered overnight, and some within a few months’ time. But others put me in God’s waiting room for a decade or two. The pain of waiting made God appear uncaring and I was certain that life would never be any different. I had to fight for my faith and cling to sound theology despite the strength of my emotions. When the tide turned, when God came sweeping in with the redemption I sought, the joy exceeded anything I had suffered. My prayers had been one-dimensional; his answers were as vast and deep as the ocean. Even now, I still cannot plumb the depths of all that He has done – and will do – because of persevering prayer.

If you fear that the joy of answered prayer will pale in comparison to the ways affliction has ravaged your soul, expand your hope. If God could cause Joseph to ‘forget’ the 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, the coming deliverance is so much more powerful. Amen

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