CMDA's The Point

Mexican Train

October 5, 2021
10052021WEEKLYDEVOS

by Al Weir, MD

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…” (Matthew 6:25, NIV).

One of my Christian friends is dealing with cancer in remission. I often advise him, and I regularly pray for him. Last week he leaned over a church pew and alerted me. “My scan is next week on Wednesday. Please pray for me.”

So many of us have concerns in our future that will not let us go. Whether or not we try to ignore them, these future worries wrap themselves around our hearts like a painful rubber band.

Last night my wife and I had two Christian couples over for an evening of “Mexican Train.” It’s a domino game where you move from player to player around the table playing out the dominos in your individual stacks. Early on, I made the mistake of planning my next move immediately after I played each domino, counting on the same domino set-up being there when my next turn came around. Each time I would imagine great moves ahead; but, just as regularly, before I could execute my fantastic strategy, some player would thump down a domino and destroy my plan. When my turn finally came around, I was stuck with a layout much different than I had imagined. I would bounce like silly putty between a plan for victory and the truth of defeat. It was painful because I kept envisioning a future that was different from that which developed. Subsequently, I learned to wait and plan my next move when my turn arrived rather than projecting it into an uncertain future.

Whether it be dominos or CT scans, an intense focus on the future adds stress to our lives, much of which the Lord would like for us to avoid.

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…” (Matthew 6:34, NIV).

I don’t think Jesus is saying, “Ignore tomorrow.” Planning for the future is often important—and not the issue here. It’s the worry we allow our future to wrap around us that concerns our Lord.

His advice above comes from two facts of life:

  1. I really don’t know what tomorrow will bring. As I learned in my game of dominoes, so many unknown factors may enter my life before the future arrives, that the future I receive may look nothing like the one I fear. I need to plan wisely, hold the future loosely and realize my inaccuracy in predicting anything beyond today.
  2. I really do know Who holds tomorrow. My fear of the future is a wasted fear. I need not fear tomorrow, for tomorrow’s in the Father’s hands. If this were not so, my future would not matter anyway. God can be trusted. As Dr. Richard Swenson reminds us:

“It is reassuring to know that God is not confused. He never makes mistakes, never loses battles, and is not taking Prozac. He would reassure us with advice like this: Do not worry about tomorrow. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be anxious about anything. Guard your heart against hardness. Run toward love, not money. Always walk uprightly before a watching world.”1

Dear Father,
Help me to fully trust You and live this day for Your glory, so that my uncertain future might not stun me out of effectiveness for You today.
Amen

1 Dr. Richard Swenson in Today’s Christian Doctor

About 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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