The Purpose-Driven Life

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Everyday we live our lives according to how we want to because we have been given that freedom. We go to classes and perform up to our potential. We enjoy spending time with friends and partaking in social gatherings. But what if that was all taken away from you? Would you know where to turn. What if God decided to lay a purpose for you and you couldn't see the outcome. Sometimes life can seem that way. This story illustrates the trust that Mary and Joseph had for their Heavenly Father, and how, at times was terrifying, turned out to glorify God.

It was a warm night in the town on Nazareth and Mary and Joseph were just settling down for the evening. They had just recently been married and were very excited about spending their lives together. Mary cooked an excellent dinner and they slept very peacefully most of the night.

But then all of a sudden an angel whose name was Gabriel came down from heaven and woke Mary up. She was startled but somehow remained quiet so she wouldn't disturb Joseph. The light was blinding and it was hard to make out what was going on. She pinched herself a couple of times just to make sure she wasn't dreaming until she was satisfied that this must be real. The angel spoke to her and told her that the Lord is with you. This initially frightened Mary until she realized that this was an angel of the Lord. Gabriel told her that she was with child and that He would be the Son of God.

Mary's mind was racing faster than the Indy 500. So many thoughts flashed by that she couldn't comprehend them all. One thought in particular caught her attention. She was a virgin. How could she be with child? Before she could even ask though, the angel spoke out, almost as if he was reading her mind. The angel said, "Don't worry Mary, this child is from God." Mary didn't know what to think. Why did God pick her to be His mother? I don't know anything.

The sun was just coming up over the horizon and the light was piercing the darkness. Mary was already up, troubled from the events that happened throughout the night. She didn't know how long she could keep it from Joseph but knew he eventually had to know. So Mary decided that she would tell him over breakfast. When he found out the news, he was mortified. His wife was pregnant and hadn't even slept together yet. How could this be? Mary explained that an Angel appeared and that this child was from God. But Joseph wasn't convinced and decided that he would divorce her quietly because that was the customary thing to do. He had his mind set.

As Joseph slept that night an angel also appeared to him. The angel told him the same thing and that this child was from God. They were to call Him Jesus for he will be the Savior of the world. When he woke up the next morning, he felt sorry for judging Mary and not believing her.

Many months had passed by since this "gift from God" had been brought upon them and carried on with life as usual. But on this particular day a messenger came by their house telling them that Caesar Augustus had ordered a census be taken of the land. They were supposed to go their home town to register and for some that was a long journey. This couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time for Mary and Joseph. Mary was already having contractions and in excruciating pain. But they had a long trip ahead of them, so the longer they waited the worse it would get. The next day they gathered the belongings needed and their donkey and headed off to Bethlehem.

The trip was long and they were both getting tired. Mary was starting to become very weak and needed to rest. When they finally arrived at Bethlehem, they stopped by the inn to purchase a room. The innkeeper told them though that they were fresh out of rooms. But seeing the needs of these two poor individuals, the innkeeper led them to the stable. And Mary gave birth to Jesus in this stable, with all the animals as witnesses. After only a week, Jesus was circumsized in the temple.

When King Herod found out that a child had been born, he was disturbed and sought to kill him. He ordered that all boys under the age of two be murdered. Angel appeared to Joseph that night in another dream and told him of Herod's plan and that they need to escape to Egypt in order to be safe. So the next morning they left for yet another Journey.

This story illustrates to us the journey of life and how God leads us in different directions. Mary and Joseph were just like you and me. They were sinners but God chose them for a special purpose. He gives each and every one of us a purpose just like that. While some may seem insignificant, they are all important to God's overall plan. Realizing this purpose helps us realize how special we are to God and to be willing to answer his callings.