A Bad Dream

February 5, 2019

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4, NIV 1984).

On the first day of my week away from work at the CMDA National Convention, my wife told me, “I had this horrible dream last night.” Now, I’m used to my wife occasionally sharing bad dreams with me, none of which have ever come true; so, I asked her for the details. “I was on this spiral stairway, leading to who knows where. Nora Jane (our 3-year-old granddaughter) was on the bottom step, but the bottom step dropped off into a long fall. A big man was coming down the stairs above me and Nora Jane is afraid of big men. I was scared to death when she looked up in fright and backed off the step into nothingness. I cried out to you and you just stood there looking into your phone.”

Wow. I’m not one to stare into my phone like so many—but this dream woke me up. What is it that distracts me so that my wife, even in a dream, would believe that I would not be there when my granddaughter needed me? Am I too busy doing things that are important but not vital, such that I am failing at the vital?

Ever been there? Are you there now? I have no magic formula to help me decide when I am doing too much, or one to decide which activities of the too much I should not be doing. But, I do believe (in our present world of healthcare “productivity” score cards and in our dedication as Christians to activities with kingdom value) that we should take time to review our commitments. As humans this side of glory, we are trapped in time and only have so much remaining to complete God’s mission for us in this world. There is a limit to what we can do with that limited time.

The first person to whom we should regularly take our list of activities is the Lord who holds our life mission in His hands. “Is this on your list, O God?” There comes a point of busy-ness when we should say, “If not, I’m done with it.” If such a prayer does not make our choices clear, our community should. Our community may be a small group at church, a best friend, a mentor or a life coach. Some of us have failed to develop such community, and that may be why our spouses are dreaming about granddaughters falling. With prayer and in community, with deliberate choices, we will discover that some activities must continue, and some must end. Perhaps many must end so that God’s mission might begin.

Certainly, there are consequences to following God with our choices. If God is telling me to cut back on my work through my wife’s dream, there will be financial consequences. My financial security and that of my children will suffer. But if God so chooses, His consequences for my life are far more important than the ones I can imagine, both for me and for my granddaughter on that bottom step.

Dear Father,
Help me to trim my life plan and open up my life for the activities in Your perfect plan.

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.