Wounded Oysters

God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. —

Genesis 41:52


When seemingly needless suffering invades our lives, we often ask ourselves, "Who needs all this grief?" But consider, for a moment, the origin of pearls.


Each pearl is formed by an oyster's internal response to a wound caused by an irritant, such as a grain of sand. Resources of repair rush to the injured area. The final result is a lustrous pearl. Something beautiful is created that would have been impossible without the wound.


Joseph was in a position of influence, a position God soon used to feed surrounding nations and Joseph's family during famine. But how did he become influential? It began with a wound—being sold into slavery (Gen. 39)—which produced a pearl of usefulness. Because Joseph drew on God's resources when humiliated, he became better, not bitter. He named his second son Ephraim, which means "twice fruitful," and he said, "God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction" (41:52).


Author Paul E. Billheimer says of Joseph, "If human pity could have rescued him from the sad part of his life, the glorious part that followed would have been lost." So, if you're suffering, remember: No wounds, no pearls!


By Joanie Yoder

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