Choosing to Be Grateful
Gratitude doesn’t come naturally. Self-pity does. Bellyaches do. Grumbles and mumbles—no one has to remind us to offer them. Yet they don’t mix well with the kindness that we have been given. A spoonful of gratitude is all we need.
Joseph took more than a spoonful. He had cause to be ungrateful. Abandoned. Enslaved. Betrayed. Estranged. Yet try as we might to find tinges of bitterness, we don’t succeed. What we do discover, however, are two dramatic gestures of gratitude.
Most parents go to great effort to select the perfect name for their child. Joseph did. These were the days of abundance. God had rewarded Joseph with a place in Pharaoh’s court and a wife for his own home. The time had come to start a family. The young couple was reclining on the couch when he reached over and patted Asenath’s round, pregnant tummy. “I’ve been thinking about names for our baby.”
“Oh, Joey, how sweet. I have as well. In fact, I bought a name-your-baby book at the grocery store.” “You won’t need it. I already have the name.” “What is it?” “God Made Me Forget.” “If he made you forget, how can you name him?” “No, that is the name: God Made Me Forget.”
She gave him that look Egyptian wives always gave their Hebrew husbands. “God Made Me Forget? Every time I call my son I will say, ‘God Made Me Forget’?” She shook her head and tried it out. “‘It’s time for dinner, God Made Me Forget. Come in and wash your hands, God Made Me Forget.’ I don’t know Joseph. I was thinking something more like Tut or Ramses, or have you ever considered the name Max? It is a name reserved for special people.” “No, Asenath, my mind is made up. Each time my son’s name is spoken, God’s name will be praised. For God made me forget all the pain and hurt I experienced at the hands of my brothers. I want everyone to know—I want God to know—I am grateful.”
Apparently Mrs. Joseph warmed to the idea because at the birth of son number two, she and Joseph called him God Made Me Fruitful. One name honored God’s mercy; the other proclaimed his favor.