I mentioned Vicktor Frankl when I was chatting to some friends the other day, and I promise you I wasn’t name dropping! We just happened to be discussing the sort of things that ‘make us tick’.

It seemed a good idea to refer to this well-known psychotherapist given the fact that he believed that a sense of purpose in life is a basic human need.

Frankl should certainly be taken seriously. After all his theory wasn’t conceived in the quietness of a university library but in the sordid brutality of a Nazi concentration camp. As I understand it, he spent his time reflecting on the differences between those who survived and those who were destroyed by their experiences, and he reached the conclusion that those who did survive had a clear purpose for living whereas those who didn’t capitulated and died.

But that obviously begs the question as to what motivates us. We can be driven by a sense of revenge or a hatred of others for example. We can be motivated by a desire to see our nation expand whatever the cost to others, or we can be consumed by a passion for fame and fortune. As I see it, we would all do well to spend a little time thinking about the things that influence us most given our limited life spans and the prospect of eternity, with all that that might entail.

Jesus certainly thought like this. You might recall Him telling the story of a man who seemed to have succeeded in life but was really a ‘fool’ because he was going to die that very night and everything he worked for would be passed on to others. Rather than storing up things Jesus said, he should have asked himself how he could become “rich towards God.”

My sense of purpose did a complete about-turn in the months and years that followed my conversion because I came to the conclusion that if there is a God, and if He did create me the way I am then it would be sensible to let Him set my agenda.

And I am so glad I did because it has meant that I have experienced what Jesus called ‘life to the full’.  It has been completely unpredictable of course, but that’s not surprising given the fact that I serve a ‘gloriously predictably unpredictable’ God.

It meant that I came to live in Pembrokeshire for example, something my wife and I have always treasured but had never expected. I have preached in a church on the front line in a war zone and I have worked with economic migrants on the Mexican border and asylum seekers in Tenby. 

I have enjoyed friendship with a former criminal who became a probation officer following his conversion and I have spent time with a lady who was healed in the most dramatic way. An active athlete, she was paralysed and confined to a wheelchair following an accident on the stairs of her dormitory, but she was miraculously healed on the exact day and at the very time God promised her He would. In front of witnesses too.

Over the years then, I have discovered that God can speak to us at the most unexpected of times and challenge us to get involved in the most unexpected activities, and when we do, He is able to do infinitely more than we could expect or even imagine. Now I can’t think of a better reason for getting out of bed in the morning, even when its raining. Can you?