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November 29, 2022

“…whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27, NIV).

He didn’t look over 90, but he was. He stepped agilely onto the exam table, and then he let me take a picture of his hat, documenting his participation in the Battle of the Bulge, now 96 and still vigorous, both physically and mentally. When I asked him the standardized question, “Are you under any emotional distress?”, He answered, “No, I don’t let things worry me. When the Devil comes knocking, I just send Jesus to the door.”

When people go through stuff, it can break them, or it can make them incredibly strong. I can’t imagine all this patient has gone through, beginning with the Belgian winter of 1944 and the 75 years since. As I watched him and heard him speak of his life, the word that came to my mind was “solid.”

I would love it if someone someday would use that word about me.

How do we become “solid,” such that when waves of life crash over us, we are not washed away, such that we are settled into our convictions and do not waffle when our culture wags its finger at us?

It is clearly evident our present culture is aggressively wagging its fingers at Christians, not only wanting acceptance but also heart-felt approval and complicity. Rather than solid, much of my life is better described as Play Doh, letting the world shape me to its image, so I might be comfortable and not criticized or cancelled.

Jesus was more like my 96-year-old war hero, solid. I love what the Pharisees and Herodians said about Jesus when they were trying to trap him, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth…” (Mark 12:14, NIV).

Am I swayed by men? Am I a person of integrity? Am I authentic in all circumstances? Am I solid?

I know I am not on my own, but I want to be.

Perhaps this patient of mine was fashioned by his circumstances to be the man he is. However, I suspect, it is more likely he became who he is because he has fully settled his character on a firm foundation from which he refuses to move.

“No, I don’t let things worry me. When the Devil comes knocking, I just send Jesus to the door.”

Dear God,
Let me sing and affirm: “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”1

1Words by Edward Mote (1834). Music by William B. Bradbury (1863).

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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