The Other Side

November 12, 2019
Photo: Pixabay

“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16b, ESV).


He sat there for a moment after I had finished his exam. I wondered what was keeping him in his chair. He then asked softly, “Are you a Christian?”


I was a little bit stunned, as this was out of the blue, but answered, “I certainly am; are you?”


“I call myself one,” he replied, “but sometimes I am not sure.”


“Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died to forgive your sins and rose to give you eternal life?”


“Yes, I do. But still I wonder. I’ve been thinking about the other side.”


This was a man who had suffered much and still suffered. We continued our conversation until I was well behind in my clinic schedule. It remains unclear to me whether he thought his suffering meant that God did not really love him, or that there might not be a God at all.


He continued, “Did you know that there were a thousand Jesus’s? I’ve been watching National Geographic.”

“Sure,” I said. “Jesus was a common name. But there is only one who died for you and saved you. And He will get you to heaven.” I then added, “I’ve worked with you a long time. Do you trust me?”


“Yes,” he said.


“I give you my word that Jesus Christ has saved you and you will live again.”


Are we ready with the gospel?


I’m embarrassed that I often feel unprepared to walk someone through the salvation Scriptures, especially on the spur of the moment. I’ve learned different methods many times and trained in many evangelism courses, but it still doesn’t come easy or feel natural for me.


I do stay in God’s Word daily.


I do ask God to help me speak the name of Jesus each day.


I do pray for specific people, that they might come to know Him.


I do meet with others who pray with me for those whom God has placed on my heart with His message.


But, with that preparation, in my normal hectic day, I mostly depend on the words Jesus spoke to His disciples as He described their future, “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11, NIV 1984).


Though I know I am taking this mandate out of context, I also know God’s Spirit is the only true voice, however well prepared and whatever words I blurt out in the moment.


Dear God,

If there is more you wish for me to do with your message, change me, and then do through me what I cannot do myself.


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.