When Forgetting Is Not Enough

Sharon JaynesConfidence in Christ 23 Comments

I’ve had some things to happen in my life that I would just as soon forget. I bet you have too. But as soon as I start to shred the memory and throw it in the trash, God says, “Hold up. I’ve got a good purpose for that bad story.”

Joseph learned that lesson, too. Joseph had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, falsely accused of sexual harassment, and left in a prison to die. Then God miraculous rescued him from prison and made him second in command to the Egyptian Pharaoh. By his thirty-seventh birthday, Joseph had two sons. One he named Manasseh, which means “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”

The second son he named Ephraim, which means “it is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Many years after his sons had been born, Joseph learned that his father, Jacob, was ill.  So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim and traveled for one last visit.

When they arrived, Jacob said, “Bring the boys to me so I may bless them.”

Joseph brought his sons to his father’s bedside. He placed Ephraim on his right toward Jacob’s left hand and Manasseh, his first born, on his left toward Jacob’s right hand. But instead of giving the blessing to Joseph’s firstborn, Jacob reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger. Then he crossed his arms and put his left hand on Manasseh’s head.

Joseph tried to stop his father from giving the blessing to the second born rather than the firstborn, but his father refused.

“I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great.  Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations” (Genesis 48:19). So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

What a beautiful picture. Yes, Joseph had a life of trouble and suffering at the hands of those who abused, neglected and betrayed him. But God didn’t want him to merely forget his suffering as the name Manasseh implied. He wanted him to be fruitful in his suffering as the name Ephraim implied.

It is the same with you and with me. God does not want us to simply forget the pain of the past. He wants us to be fruitful in the land of our suffering! Use it for good. Go back to today’s truth. God doesn’t comfort us just to make us comfortable. He comforts us to make us comfort-able. Able to comfort those with the comfort we have received. That is the good fruit. How is God calling you to use your seemingly bad stories for a good purpose?

Dear Lord, I thank You that nothing is ever wasted in our life experiences. The world says, “Just forget about it” when it comes to our past struggles. You say, “Just use it! Be fruitful!” Show me ways that I can use what I have gone through to help other people. Lord, I pray that You will make me fruitful in the land of my suffering. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What have you gone through in your life that you could now use to help someone else? Leave a comment and share in just a few words. Begin with My story of ___________.

God longs for you to do more than just “forget about it.” He wants you to turn those “all things” that Romans 8:28 talks about into ministry opportunities! Sister, when you begin to use your past mistakes and hurts for the glory of God, Satan has no more power over you! He can’t use it against you any longer. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to shout! Are you ready to turn your hurt into hope, your pain into purpose, and your messes into ministry? Then see my book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Past. I’ll be cheering you on!

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Comments 23

  1. Love this.. I lost a son at 18 months old had a miscarriage 4 months later suffered with anxiety depression for the past 11 years. Iv tried to forget my past, this may be the cause in delay from healing properly. I would love for God to use my misery for ministry. I want to comfort others.I have a deep compassion for ones suffering in the same ways, for I can relate to them in such a personal way.

    1. Hi Katherine,I am really sorry to hear about your story of loss .. my neighbor lost her 21/2 year girl this Jan ..my heart is so heavy for her..I go to visit her from time to time..Seeing her in tears breaks my heart everytime ..😢can u give me some tips on how I can comfort her besides praying for her? She is not a believer ..

  2. My story begins with betrayal of my best friend and my husband. She was after my husband for years. My husband divorced me and married her. There were older children that were basically out of the house, but the youngest son was still at home.
    My life was stripped out from under me. The only thing that seemed to make sense to me was ending my life after my son graduated from high school. But God had other plans.
    After years of being alone, I remarried a man who took me on with all my baggage. God allowed me to minister to women sharing my experience. He used my story to help others.
    The second part to this story begins when my son married a girl whom I love and treated her as my own. When their son was born, she decided to keep him from me. The cruelty that followed is unimaginable.
    She sided with my ex and his wife. My son was to weak to go against her.
    So, once again Satan tried to destroy me, but God had other plans. Things have improved tremendously over the past few years with my son and his wife,but the scars are still there.
    God had other plans to use these painful stories to help another heart-broken wife, mother and grandmother understand that they are not alone, and that even though
    Satan has meant harm, God turns it around for His glory.

    1. Oh Brenda…I could have written your story. My heart is literally crushed with yours. I too, have experienced betrayal by a husband of over 25 years and a close friend of 16 years – The summer everything came to a head, I began counseling and was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Because I believed their constant criticism and comments about me were in order to help me become better – I shared openly with them my journey. They pounced on this diagnosis and my confession and desire to heal was used to try to convince friends, coworkers and my children that I was mentally ill, abusive and unempathetic. Many believed. The church we both founded and where I was on staff divided, the small community divided – the ugliness of public campaigns to convince people of my evil was horrible. Three of my six children do not speak to me, I have grandchildren I am not permitted to see.

      But God…God rescued, God restored, God has renewed. I begged to die during that season to be with Him…He said I am with you in the middle.
      I begged God to restore my marriage…He said, for you divorce is a rescue mission from emotional and psychological abuse. After serving two more years at the church we founded…He said, child – your call here is done. During that darkness I only had my Jesus – my faith grew, my healing began – Then He gave me an amazing gift in a husband who loves me. Experiencing what it is like to be really loved by another human being in a marriage relationship has been beyond description and amazing. He moved me to a “new land” over 1000 miles away, literally, where I can heal. Small towns don’t really allow your past to not be in your present constantly.

      I’m still on a journey to discovering God’s call – but know part of it is helping people turn to Him fully in EVERY season of life…to want HIM above all. To want HIM more than what he can do or give. To be attuned to His presence in each moment. To enjoy God. Praise be to God for his unfailing love.

    2. But God. He will and can do it for you and I know for me, too. I’ve always thought I could use and share my past hurts and experiences for good of many as opposed to the only few I have shared with.
      My Lord, use me to do thy works, in Your Name and in the Name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen

      Thank you, Sister.

  3. You will never know the depth and breadth of this…. I was in ministry two decades ago with my then husband. He abused the children and me for years—then God made a way of escape for us. Through our Godly counselors, we got on a Greyhound bus in the summer of 2001 and headed to Florida from Houston. I want/desire/long for the Lord to restitute my life for His Honor and Glory, Sharon. Please pray…. Thank you so very much for the gift you are to the Body (to me)! :*

  4. My life was out control in early 20’s from drugs in like of unknown .I left my kids awhile with my mother but now 20 years later I am raising my grandson it coming from my past hurts .I sometimes get mad about the parents not stepping up tp help but God is right here for me.I also dealing with a drug addict husband in and out jail God will fix it to.I am walking with God throught it bad days and good days and struggle to get and stay clean from drugs.

  5. Sharon, thank you for this beautiful devotion! God has used every little bit of my past to better His Kingdom!! It has not been easy at all but He truly does what He says He’s going to do! Before I was a Christian I was brought up in a very abusive home, married 3 times, alcohol and drug addiction, multiple abortions, anorexic and bolemic, diagnosed with PTSD, OCD, anxiety, depression, ADHD and medication for 12 years and also losing a child. Doctors could not treat me or figure out my problem. I had every diagnosis and treated with every medication and nothing worked!! Thank the Lord nothing worked! Until I came to Christ, opened the door to His knocking and excepting His gift of salvation! I have been medication free for 8 years!!! He truly has not wasted ANYTHING!! Isaiah 61:7 says He will give us a double blessing for our shame and dishonor!!! That double blessing is for shame that was given to us that wasn’t ours or shame that we had from our sin. We get a double blessing! And I have gotten just that! I now counsel women who have marital problems and I’m married to a Pastor! I have a huge ministry working with women that are alcohol and drug addicted and mental health challenges. He truly does use every bit! There’s more lol lol but I realized I’ve probably just written a book on here. That’s in the works too. I’ve learned to abide and not strive.

    1. Hi Susan. Praise God for your obedience! God really does take our messes and make them into a master piece! Your testimony really hit home because its a little like mine. In 1996 my kids father and I were on Methamphetamine. Our 2 children were 2 and 3 years old when he got arrested and was sentenced to jail. He told the judge that he needed rehab that he wanted help. So he went to Jericho outreach in chino ca. I watch God change him and decided to check into the womens home. It was one of the most awesome experiences I had in my life and that’s where I met Jesus. My Lord and Savior! When i graduated our pastor married us. Life was awesome and God blessed us and we even tought the youth at our church and I organized our womens retreats and sang on the worship team. After 12 years of sobriety and serving the Lord, we slowly started missing bible study and then church and then came 1 drink and more drinks and smoking cigarettes again and the fighting started and before you know it I left my husband for another man and started using meth again. Our kids where now 17 and 18. I left them with there father and took off. Its been 9 years since I left my family. My relationship with my daughter was pretty much damaged and i have yet to meet my 1st grandchild and one on the way. My self esteem was trampled on by men and the devil. I wanted to die, tried to commit suicide, so depressed. Thank God my son always showed me unconditional love. On dec. 21 2020. I got covid and i was so sick! Little did I know that, that was the beginning of my new beautiful life! God used covid to wake me up and God used covid to save my life. What a awesome Loving God! He delivered me completely from the addiction of meth on Dec. 24 2020. Thank you Lord! Ive been sober for 54 days now and loving my life and I wake up excited to serve God! I saturated myself in his word and worship and prayer everyday from the time i wake up until the time i go to bed. I love him more than i ever have! I have a a heart for women who are in addiction and im called to that ministry. i want to become a drug and alchol counselor and someday open up a men and womens home God willing. I have started school to get my high school diploma and then when im done with that i plan to attend a community college for degree in drug and Alchol couseling. God has truly Blessed me and i cannot will not live without him ever again! I love you so much Lord!

  6. This reminds me of the verse in Joel that says that God will redeem the years the locust have eaten. I love the phrase Comfort-able. His Holy Spirit makes us comfort-able.

  7. My story of losing my first born son when he was 7 years old was a horrific experience. My heart ached with such pain. One of the first things that I did was thank my God for taking my Ethan. I know that sounds odd but I recalled the I Thess. 5:8…give thanks for ALL things, so I did and I meant it. I knew God knew what was best and there had to be a reason that He chose to bring my Ethan home. That was in 1996, and I still miss him but my Jesus has carried my heart all of these years and comforted me and gave me such a peace that I cannot explain…the PEACE that passes all understanding.

  8. My story of depression and bipolar has turned into two poetry books and a soon-to-be-published devotional; all written to help others who face the same struggles. Without the darkness, I never could’ve written about God’s loving light!

  9. Gracias, mi pasado ha tenido tantas dificultades, pero realmente el actua a traves de mi dolor para sanarme y mostrar Su Gloria en mi y los que tengo a mi alrededor. Gracias

  10. My story of childhood prostitution will be used by God to help others face the shame and guilt that comes with sexual abuse. Amen!

  11. Been through alot all my life. Struggling for love from my family. Suffering now through the pain of it all. God use me for Your Glory.

  12. My story begins in unfamiliar places. I love what is secure, safe and familiar like my home, my church of 33 years and my favorite pair of shoes BUT after the economy went bad and my husband turned to alcohol we ended in divorce and bankruptcy. That was the unpardonable sun at my church and instead of being a refuge they cast me out. Nothing was familiar ! I was a stay at home homeschool mom, but had to work 2 jobs and juggle my kids – seeing them suffer was overwhelming on my already broken heart. Then my mom passed away and my dad was bewildered trying to function in life without her. I had so much responsibility to help him, my kids, provide and grieve my losses I fell in despair. One of my sons turned to alcohol to cope and I battled years of that nightmare not being able to help him. Loneliness comes in one size- Xtra large and my dad and I were swallowed in it. He just couldn’t go on without my mom and took his life… all this and much more was so unfamiliar to my heart and life to cope with. I am in process of writing a book and sharing how God carried me through and restored joy back to my shredded world.

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