Struggling with "the Call"

by Johnny Robinson
(Dandridge Tennessee)

Growing up I never had a Godly influence in my life. And, other than the occasional Vacation Bible School, or attending church with my uncle from time to time, I didn't attend church regularly as a child. My life, like so many others, has been difficult.

My mother divorced my alcoholic, drug addict, and abusive (to me and my mother) father when I was ten. His three brothers were/are alcoholics and my mother (always a wonderful person)--for a time--also turned to alcohol as a form of escapism; I have never been close to her (my mother's) family. As a matter of fact, though popular in grade school and high school, I have lived a peculiar, lonely life. The more I look back on things, and is even as a child; adolescent; and young adult,and throughout my military service I felt that God had a divine purpose for my life.

At the age of 12, my mother found me alone and crying in our living room late one night (early that morning). When she asked me why I was crying, the only answer I could muster was: "I don't want to die and go to hell." What makes the matter even more strange is that I had began crying because of the lyrics to Michael Jackson's song "Man in the Mirror". Certainly not your typical divine calling, but, to say the least, at the age of 12 I had what I consider an extraordinary understanding of what the lyrics to this song meant.

From that day, my outlook on life dramatically changed. The treatment of people, justice, God's divinity, and the just God theory has ruled my life. At points in my life when I have turned the other cheek or chosen to be the bigger person, the epiphany always strikes: Someday God will show people why I have been the person that I am. Now, at the age of 33 I am miserable. I have an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in health administration. Yet God will not bless my occupational endeavor to become the CEO of a hospital. I am stuck in a dead-end job and feel like I shouldn't be there. Further, it seems everything I touch, everything I try to do, fails. And, behind the scenes, I have a huge desire and overwhelming feelings--and have for years--to be a pastor or teacher.

So I am writing this account--and there is much more--to ask: Is what I am experiencing the slough of despond all Christians face? Are these normal Christian lamentations, or is what I am feeling and going through the call to preach and God's hand directing (pushing) me toward that path.

I hope you will reply with direction and guidance.

If need be, feel free to email me at

God bless, and my prayers are with each of you. I pray that God will be merciful, grant you peace with the trials and tribulations each of you are suffering. I pray he gives you rest, support, and carries you through your current and future longsufferings.

Peace be with you, brothers and sisters.


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