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Trial brings lessons of grace: How a heart attack changed Dr. Weier’s lifestyle, taught him about God’s grace

Dr. Weier shares what he has learned through a recent trial.  Photo: Amy Roukes
Photo: Amy Roukes

Most of us don’t remember what we did on Aug. 13, 2012. But for Dr. Gary Weier, that day changed his life and showcased God’s grace in many ways.

It was two weeks before the fall semester was to begin, and faculty, deans and administrators were in the last hectic days of finalizing schedules, making lesson plans and preparing for classes to begin. Weier, in particular, would face a lot of stress during those final days before the commencement of a new semester.

“It’s the equivalent of final exams for students,” he said. “I share my vision for the upcoming semester with the entire faculty and deans [to make] sure everything is going smoothly.”

After organizing the opening faculty session and meeting with the deans in his office, Weier began to feel a little odd.

“I was in my office talking to Mr. [Marshall] Franklin and knew something was wrong.” Realizing how seriously ill he felt, Weier went to the University Medical Associates office. After hearing his symptoms, the doctors there quickly called for an ambulance and took an EKG of Weier’s heart.

“It was really weird,” he said. “This young EMT girl looked at the EKG reading and calmly told me I was having a heart attack. It didn’t feel like I thought heart attacks were supposed to feel.”

Upon arrival at St. Francis Hospital, Weier was rushed into surgery. “God had already worked out every detail,” he said. “Really, it was amazing. Thirteen minutes after I’d gotten to the hospital, the doctors had already taken care of the blockage in my artery.”

Because of how soon Weier went to the hospital and how fast doctors operated, damage to his heart was limited. This helped to speed the recovery process.

After spending two days in the hospital, Weier was released to go home, where he began the long process of recovery.

“I had already known that I needed to make lifestyle changes, but because of my pride in always trying to accomplish things on my own, I hadn’t taken the time to make those changes,” he said.

At home, he began to exercise more, starting with slow, short walks to eventually work his way up to running. In fact, Dr. Weier ran the Turkey Bowl 5k in November, and he still runs three miles three times per week.

Weier focused on God’s grace to him throughout the trauma of his heart attack. “When you have a heart attack at age 47, and the Lord lets you live through it, you do reflect on life a lot,” he said.

Because of the heart attack, Weier approaches life differently now, not just focusing on improving his health, but also growing closer to God and being willing to change.

He said before his heart attack he’d been depending on himself more than God, and it took a trial as big as a heart attack to make him stop and learn about being humble.

Weier found encouragement in Psalm 25:8: “Good and upright [is] the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.”

He said this verse made him realize how it was God’s goodness that he had been led through a trial, and it was meant to teach him about sin in his life.

“God, in his goodness, did what I in my pride wouldn’t do: admit how proud and unteachable I’d been,” he said. “It was really God’s grace that I had the heart attack.”

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Trial brings lessons of grace: How a heart attack changed Dr. Weier’s lifestyle, taught him about God’s grace