A Second Baptism

April 18, 2023

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b, NIV).

“I’m ready for you to let me go, Doc,” he said.

“You mean to heaven?” I asked.

I had been treating him for years for his chronic blood disorder. He was not suffering much physically but had become transfusion dependent with two to four units a month.

He started weeping. “This is just not living.”

I put my hand on his shoulder and asked, “You are not thinking of suicide, are you?”

He nodded yes but clarified that he was not planning to harm himself, just planning to stop transfusions.

“That’s not suicide, is it? The insurance won’t pay if it is suicide.”

For some people on some days this world is just too much.

In truth, if any of us think deeply about the profound tragedies, lost dreams and eventual “nothingness” of this life, we know they are right, if we face it on our own. As Camus stated: “There is but one true serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.”

I suspect God keeps most of us from thinking that deeply too often. Suicide is not His plan, nor are we alone.

As Christians we should assume God wants us to remain on this side of glory until He decides to take us home. Therefore, we should ask ourselves: “What is it that makes life worth living?”

I came up with my own personal list:

Presence of God in My Life—the reason for which we were created. Our greatest joy and fulfillment.
Family—God’s design for human existence and, for many of us, our most profound connection to the meaning of life.
Friends—We are created in God’s image as relational people, born to love, to relate.
Service—Pouring out: the nature of God, where we often find our closest proximity to God.
Beauty—Soaking in: caught up in sunsets, canyons, mountains, a rose, a smile, beautiful music…all given by God for our blessing.
Creative Passion—We are all good at something we love doing, a creativity imbedded in us as the image of God.

If these things make life worth living, why am I focused everywhere else?

Every now and then, we should search our lives for things that really matter and make changes so we spend our time and money seeking them, removing the things that interfere, trusting God to care for us in the changes.

One caveat: Sometimes each of us is called to sacrifice our personal fulfillment, that which matters to us, so others may enjoy theirs. We become the scaffolding upon which others might build their lives of value. This, too, is imbedded in us as the image of God.

Dear Father,
Let me examine my life and do what matters, removing what does not.

Al Weir, MD

Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.

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