Mountain Wonder

March 5, 2019
I spoke again to my friend in the mountains, the one who follows Buddha rather than Christ, the one who suffered multiple surgeries from a skateboard accident. We met up again in Colorado when I was there recently for a medical conference. We climbed together to the Ptarmigan Lakes at 12,500 feet, wrapped in the grandeur of God’s creation. I shared the gospel and he shared his faith in Buddhism. It stands to reason that two conflicting statements should not both be true. And yet, our present world suggests they can. How do we as individuals, as followers of Christ, as people of reason, decide what is truth in life? When reasonable people disagree about important issues, how do we decide who is correct? In my own simplistic thinking, I know of four ways to discover truth—to discover “life as it really is.”

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3, NIV 1984).

I was trudging up the gravel road after a wonderful morning of hiking in prayer in the Colorado Mountains. When I was almost at the lodge, a young woman crossed my path coming in from her morning hike.

“I don’t know if you remember me,” she said. “My name is Vaughan.”

“Elizabeth?” I asked.

I stopped, amazed, because I had been praying for this young physician since she was in medical school 12 years ago and had never met her. At that time, she had emailed me for some advice. We spoke a number of times by email, and God placed her on my heart and in my prayers. I had not heard from her since her residency, completed six years ago, but have prayed for her almost every day since then, for God’s reasons, not my own. She shared with me her life since then, how God guided her down a wonderful pathway of service for Him in both academic medicine and research. She is now married to a wonderful physician follower of Christ and has two young kids.

“Praise God,” I said to her after her story. “Just to meet you and hear that your life has been such a blessing after all these years means a great deal to me.”

“You know,” she said. “It’s funny how mentors work. I don’t remember a word you said to me back then. I just remember how kind you were to talk to me and how you cared.”

I don’t quite understand all that has happened in this long-term prayer endeavor, but, in some way, my reflecting on these past years of praying without seeing fills me with wonder. None of this wonder is about my faithfulness in prayer or about any work God has done through my prayers. I have no misconceptions about His need for my prayer in His work.

This wonder is something different. It’s the wonder of seeing God’s Spirit molding the life of a young doctor. It’s the wonder of glimpsing at one time these many years, covered by His power and grace, observing His work in the life of one for whom I have prayed. It’s the wonder of getting to see the span of those years, after not seeing them, witnessing God’s kingdom coming to pass, guided by His power, love and wisdom, covered by His redemptive purpose. It’s the wonder of seeing myself connected to that whole kingdom process in partnership with Dr. Vaughan, her husband Vic, her two children and the God of all creation. When I look at the wonder of it all, I realize God connected me to Dr. Vaughan not much so that my prayers might empower her life but that my meeting her after all these years would empower me with a glimpse of His glorious Spirit at work in our world.

Dear God,
Thank You for a glimpse of Your Spirit. Let me kneel in reverence and then run to keep up.

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.