The Power Of Purpose
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her (St. Luke 1:38).
The power of a good purpose in one’s life is extraordinary! Jack Kelly is a name most have forgotten. But during World War II, it was emblazoned across millions of newspapers! Why? Eight-year old Jack was evacuated from his homeland at the beginning of the conflict to escape the devastation caused by German bombings of British cities. But on the way to America, his ship was torpedoed in the mid-Atlantic. When Jack bobbed to the surface, he clutched some floating debris until other survivors rescued him in a floating raft. What do you suppose were the first words out of the half-frozen and sopping-wet boy? “I want my mother?” “Am I going to die?” “Who will take care of me?” Nothing of the sort! The first sputtering words that passed through his blue lips were governed by his controlling purpose – “Which way is America?” Can you imagine that? His gritty determination and heroic stubbornness became quite a sensation!
Good purposes can be very powerful! They can shrink many fearful problems to manageable levels. And they can cause petty concerns to vanish altogether. Young Jack’s controlling purpose of getting to America calmed his fears and quelled his emotions which could have easily flashed into panic as he was carried up and down in the great, undulating swales of the Atlantic. But his apprehensions were tamed and subdued to his overarching purpose of getting to America!
We see precisely the same thing in the words of young Mary to the archangel Gabriel, following his announcement to her that she would give birth to the Son of God! She could have become petrified in his overpowering presence. She could have fallen into catalepsy as she attempted to process the staggering proportions of his message. But her controlling purpose of glorifying the Almighty and honoring Him with her life commanded such fears and anxieties to be still and retreat into a subservient role. And what we find recorded for our edification is her beautiful and calm reply, Be it unto me according to thy word. These words convey a tranquility almost beyond description! It has been stated that the world’s most common prayer to God is “Thy will be changed” – but that the world’s most magnificent prayer remains “Thy will be done.” Mary took the latter and applied it to herself, personally: Be it unto me according to thy word!
What is your controlling purpose in life? What governs your thoughts and actions and emotions? What carries you forward when barriers bar the way? These are important questions we should contemplate and answer with the help of the Almighty – as we progress through Advent. These are worthy considerations as we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas.
The power of a good purpose in one’s life is extraordinary! What good purpose motivates you?