Becoming Fruitful through
"For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the Land
of my affliction" Gen 41:52b.
Many preach a gospel of prosperity and success. But are we,
as believers, exempt from misfortune and distress?
The Scriptures teach that "Man is born unto trouble,
as the sparks fly upward" Job 5:7. Troubles are a part
of this life, a result of the fall. However, if we will see
the Lord and recognize His hand in the midst of our affliction,
we will be able to rest in the assurance that He will bring
Jesus experienced persecution, rejection, misunderstandings,
and severe adversity. When we follow Him, we too will come
by way of the cross. "If they have persecuted Me, they
will also persecute you" John 15:20b. "And ye shall
be hated of all men for My name's sake ... The disciple is
not above his master, nor the servant above his lord"
Matt 10:22a, 24. God has promised persecution to His chosen.
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution" II Tim 3:12.
The Lord never promised to take us out of difficulties, rather,
to bring us through them. "When thou passest through
the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they
shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon
thee" Isaiah 43:2.
It is in such times of great testing that the promises of
God are made real to us. "I will never leave thee, nor
forsake thee" Heb 13:5b. The Word of God becomes very
precious during times of drought; it becomes our life-sustaining
force, our hope. "This is my comfort in my affliction:
for Thy word hath quickened me" Psalm 119:50.
There are special times of "stretching" that God
uses to mold and conform us to the image of His Son. It is
during these agonizing times that we experience the most growth.
History testifies to the growth experienced by the early Church
during times of great persecution.
God has ways of turning evil into good, trial into blessing.
"For He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind ... (and
when) they cry unto the Lord in their trouble ... He maketh
the storm a calm" Psalm 107:25-29.
In this Psalm we see repeatedly how the Lord sometimes creates
a need (raise the stormy wind), or arranges difficult circumstances,
that we might cry out to Him. Yet each time "they cry
unto the Lord in their trouble" He graciously interceded
and relieved them of their distresses. The Lord will continually
bring us back to the place of dependency upon Him, that we
might find our sufficiency in Him.
This Psalm also shows us that praise is the secret to victory.
God can indeed give us a song in the night. No matter what
our outward circumstances may be, we will experience deliverance
and find inner peace, as we worship Him.
Remember how Paul and Silas sang in prison (Acts 16:25-26)
until victory was manifested even in their natural plight,
and they were released from prison. The circumstances around
us may not change so dramatically, but if we will allow the
change to take place within us, He will give us "songs
of deliverance." No man can imprison the spirit of one
who so believes God.
Often the Lord will allow trials to come our way to emphasize
our insufficiency and the need to depend on Him. "In
my prosperity," the psalmist declared, "I said,
I shall never be moved" Psalm 30:6. When things are going
well, we often fail to cling closely to our Shepherd's side.
We seek Him most diligently when we are in the greatest need.
"I will go and return to My place," the Lord cried,
"till they acknowledge their offense, and seek My face:
In their affliction they will seek me early" Hosea 5:15.
Through affliction, God is seeking to work into our character
many Godly qualities, such as, Patience, Matt 24:6-9; Contentment,
Phil 4:11-12;Obedience. Psalm 119:67; Humility, Deut 8:2-3;
Compassion, II Cor 1:4; and True Holiness, Heb 12:6-11.
Although the Lord is fully aware of our difficulties, we
should realize that He is more concerned with our attitudes
than with the situation, or the trial itself. I Peter 2:18-23.
Unless we are willing to submit to the inner working of the
Holy Spirit and trust in the wisdom of our heavenly Father,
He cannot inwardly transform us and teach us His ways. We
must become fully yielded to the Lord, as pliable clay in
the potters hands. Only then will be be able to fully trust
Him for the eventual outworking of His plan and purpose through
whatever means He may choose.
We can either learn from chastening or receive nothing through
it. "In vain have I smitten you children, they received
no correction" Jer 2:30.
The Scriptures exhort us to "despise not the chastening
of the Lord." Our attitude will reveal the true extent
of our surrender. When we complain and grumble, we do not
murmur against man, but against God who controls the situation.
It has been said that difficulties will make us either bitter
or better. Trials will expose the true condition of our heart
before the Lord. Our response depends entirely on how we look
at the situation. Even the evil intentions of others, as the
Biblical account of Joseph shows, can be turned around and
become a blessing.
Consider the purity of Joseph's attitude after being thrown
into a pit, sold into slavery and imprisoned for many years.
After all this, he answered his brothers, the very ones responsible
for all this, "But as for you, ye thought evil against
me, but God meant it unto good" Genesis 45:8.
Testings and trials may also serve to broaden our spiritual
insight into the ways of God. After his period of extreme
testing, Job declared, "I had heard of thee by the hearing
of the ear (second-hand) but now mine eye seeth thee"
Job 42:5. Truth must be personalized within us if it is to
be of any real value.
Are you going through a wilderness time, a time of testing
and great trial? God can meet you there, and most certainly,
He will bless you there.
"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none,
tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the
of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high
places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will
make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs
of water" Isaiah 41:17-18.
Rather than asking the Lord to remove you from this time
of testing, trust Him to bless you and to make you stronger
in it. Embrace the situation at hand as an opportunity to
meet with Him and to learn His ways. Take advantage of this
in your place of greatest need, and He will reveal Himself
to you in His greatest power.
The sufferings of this present world are only temporary.
They cannot be compared to the glory that shall be revealed
When we have learned to discern the eternal purposes of God
in adversity and to cry out to Him in our need, then we will
be able to testify, with Joseph, "God hath caused me
to be fruitful in the land of my affliction" Genesis41:52.