I am not able to do this job anymore. Now what?
Q: My job has had its ups and downs over the years, but, in general, I’ve enjoyed the variety. The physical nature has kept me in good shape and I’m skilled at what I do. I’m outside most of the time, which I enjoy, and I’m more or less my own boss. As much as I like my job, I had been considering retirement in the next few years. However, I had an accident that badly damaged my leg. It’s going to be a long recovery, and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to handle the physical nature of my work even after I’ve healed. I may be looking at a significant career change ahead, and may also have to delay retirement. Just when it looked like I had it all figured out, this happened. What do I do? – Bill
A: Tim says: We’ve all heard stories about God having different plans for us. Does God plan suffering? I can’t believe he plans it, but it happens, and it’s up to us to put our faith in him to guide us through it. According to The Catechism of the Catholic Church, our pain is to be joined with Christ’s suffering on the cross. In this way, we grow in faith and trust. In the first chapter of James, its author writes, “... and let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” We must turn suffering into growth and opportunity. When life eludes our careful planning, we must open ourselves to God’s calling. Since our talents are not distributed equally, (CCC 1936) we are dependent upon one another. As our abilities change, as in Bill’s case, we still have a responsibility to apply our talents to the service of others, regardless of what we thought we were supposed to do. “These differences belong to God’s plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and those endowed with particular talents share the benefits with those who need them.” (CCC 1937)
Regardless of what happens, all things work together for good to those who love God. (Rom 8:28) We can follow Bill’s example to learn how we can deal with life’s changes:
• He kept a positive outlook on life.
• He realized that our plans are meaningless when it comes to life’s surprises.
• He assessed his skills with his new set of abilities.
• He enthusiastically and thankfully opened himself to the new opportunities that God was placing before him.
When problems arise, God is trying to tell us something. Life changes are rarely easy, but if we answer his call, we will know the direction he intends for us.