How I Ended Up in Idaho Part III: The Calling & Suffering

How I Ended Up in Idaho Part III: The Calling & Suffering | The Christian Doctor

It caught me by surprise. We seemed perfect for each other – the chemistry, the attraction. We both loved music and were good at it. I even prayed about her. And got a sign in answer to that prayer. A loving relationship developed. Next I told her I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. The proposal was complete with rose petals and live music. She said yes with a tear in her eye.

Then the relationship started to go backward.

Doubt settled in her mind. We postponed the wedding date six months to see if it would help. It didn’t. Six months later we broke up instead.

At first I felt denial. She’ll come back, I thought. She never initiated contact again. I felt numb, almost indifferent. I even considered giving up my faith for a moment. But then a thought entered my mind, Just hold on.

So I did that.

I held on to God. I cried out to him in my pain.

I bring this up because our calling can come in the midst of suffering. In fact, suffering brings unique benefits that you would not otherwise have if life were just smooth sailing.

Here are 3 benefits to suffering I learned from my experience

  1. Suffering tunes you into the voice of God like never before. It focused my attention on the only thing that could transcend the suffering: God. It drove me to my knees so I could hear a comforting word from him. CS Lewis writes, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
  2. Suffering creates space for something new. I was driving to Loma Linda from LA. I had a plan to give her a compelling argument as to why we should get back together. During the drive I decided to listen to a sermon. The preacher quoted from the book of Isaiah, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

I aborted the plan. Suffering had caused me to pay attention to God’s voice. Now I cried realizing I needed to let it go.

But I held on to the promise that something new was happening. Somebody once said that when you cry enough it waters the ground beneath you so something new can grow. Going through the suffering allowed me to step into something new.

  1. Suffering makes you a better person. I have found that suffering leaves me with a choice: I can be bitter or I can be better. Allowing myself to be bitter leads to anger, resentment and being stuck in the past. Choosing to be better allows me to live with more grace and opens up the future to endless possibilities.

Suffering sucks. I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy.

Yet I cannot deny how God has used it as a tool to shape me, form me and point out the calling of my life.

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  • Reply Caleb Gillham March 8, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing your candid story. You played at my wedding and it was beautiful. Thank you. Yours too will be the sound of music and wedding, but it will be from Christ for you. God may hold another human in this world just for you, but it is He who proposed to you 2000 years ago with arms stretched and brow bent. The only one who ever died for you. This is the sweetness of pain and the joy of suffering to know Jesus through sacrifice; for the Bridegrooms is returning. Blessings as you seek to follow “The Way”.

    • Reply March 9, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Caleb! Thanks man. I do remember that wedding! Appreciate the words of encouragement. The Heavenly Father has been so good. So much healing and blessings come from such an unexpected place when we respond appropriately.

      Btw, congrats to you in your relationship man:)

  • Reply Steve March 9, 2016 at 6:11 am

    A number of years ago, while going through a very difficult time after the break-up of a marriage, I had a friend who always repeated the same three words to me: “He is faithful.” Now looking back, I can see the truth of those words. Your three points on pain are spot on. God has granted you great wisdom. Cling to it and you will be blessed.

    • Reply March 9, 2016 at 8:24 am

      It’s incredible to see this same pattern play out in the lives of others. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Dusty Magsamen March 29, 2016 at 11:55 pm

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    • Reply March 30, 2016 at 9:41 am

      I know something that has helped me in my communication has been a book entitled Secrets of Dynamic Communication by Ken Davis. Hopefully it can give you some pointers.

      Can I ask how you found my blog?

  • Reply March 30, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Thanks Whitaker. I appreciate you, friend:)

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  • Reply Maria July 6, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Wow, Andrew! I had no idea. Thanks so much for writing about your vulnerability in such a transparent way. I know you are getting married soon to the one God prepared for you so CONGRATS! As I have gone through my own trials these past few years I tell people, “I’m kicking and screaming because I hate it so much, but I’m saying, ‘Thank you, God’ because I know it is for my own good.” There are lessons that are impossible to learn without these sufferings. Blessings!

    • Reply July 8, 2016 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks Maria. The lessons that arise from suffering are indeed incredible. Great to see that your blogging, too 🙂

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