This is the name Joseph gave his second son. The name means, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” I was reminded of this a few months ago when praying with Marcia Walter for her husband, Jim who was recovering from yet another surgery. Jim and Marcia suffered surgery after surgery over the past two years. Jim had several back surgeries, an unexpected intestinal surgery; and Marcia had hip replacement surgery as well as surgery on her neck. During this time, Jim also carried the burden of being the only pastor at Covenant of Grace Church. And as an aside, the members of the church served heroically during the time that their pastor was unable to do as much due to physical limitations.
I marvel at God’s grace on the Walter’s lives to suffer with faith. I also marvel at how, like Joseph, God has made them fruitful in the land of their suffering. It inspires my faith when I consider that not only was God cultivating fruit of the Spirit in their lives, He was preparing them for a fruitful ministry.
For two years, God wasn’t just working on Jim Walter’s character, he was preparing him for a brand new work. He was giving him a heart for the sick and grieving. God was making a hospital chaplain. It’s a long story how this came to be, but recently Jim Walter, after much prayer and counsel, transitioned to a new ministry. He was offered a position as hospital chaplain and he is thriving. We are so excited for Jim. Marcia says he has the energy of a young man, and he has never been so happy. Jim and Marcia Walter are no longer in a land of suffering. They are rejoicing and healthy in every sense of the word.
Are you in a land of suffering right now? Let Joseph of the Bible, and Jim and Marcia Walters be an encouragement of the fact that God is making you fruitful, and perhaps preparing you for a ministry you don’t yet know about.
Please pray for Jim as he embarks on this new chapter in ministry. We are praying that many souls would be saved as Jim minsters with compassion and mercy to those who are in their own land of suffering.