Calling Through Suffering?

Some of you may delete me from your readers for mentioning Rob Bell, but he has an interesting tale of his calling on CNN this morning that speaks at least in some extent to calling.

This week in a class on determining my “ministry” potential we were discussing “calling” which is defined a million ways and wrongly too often (I define calling to be our purpose in life; ministry or not – extending to all seasons not simply a temporary space in life). Bell, in this post of suffering, reveals that his “call” to ministry came following a brain infection.

He saw God using suffering and a “change of plans” to put him on a path to his purpose.

In the days and weeks following the band’s breakup, people I barely knew would stop me out of the blue and say things like, “Have you thought about being a pastor?” Friends I hadn’t talked to in months would contact me and say, “For some reason I think you’re going to be a pastor.”

Me, a pastor? Seriously?

The idea began to get a hold of me and it wouldn’t let go. A calling welled up within me, a direction, something I could give myself to.

Have we responded to hardship or trial in our lives with a view toward a new or refined calling? Does a call have to come after a transition or pain? These are questions worth asking as we determine our purpose and how to live in response to the cross.