If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know that we’ve been praying for a family at our church. Craig [couple years my junior] was diagnosed – out of the blue – with brain cancer about 15 months ago. The staff have been regularly visiting him. But this past Saturday, his wife called and asked me to come over to pray with and over him. His health has rapidly deteriorated in the recent months and in the recent days, he had grown unresponsive. Honestly, it was chilling but I read the Scriptures to him and prayed over him – and sensed that while nothing about his expressions changed, he clearly heard our words – especially the words from his wife tearfully releasing him.
Couple hours later, Craig past away – his physical life over. And while God did not grant our desire, he ultimately answered our prayer by restoring Craig completely into His hands.
My admiration for Craig has grown immensely over this past year. His courage has surprised me. His devotion to his wife and their two young children have been humbling and infectious. While I saw him as a quiet and introverted person, I was overwhelmed by the support he received from every aspect of his community. He was truly respected by so many people.
Craig was the only congregant I’ve ever met that gently rebuked me for being with him or at least spending too much time wit him. He would often say:
“Pastor Eugene. You need to be home with your wife and children. They need you. Go and be with them. Cherish them.”
I don’t know what else to write. While I rejoice in the truth and power of the gospel that nothing shall separate us from the Love of God, we mourn with those who mourn and ache. You will certainly be missed Craig. Thank you for the privilege of being your brother in Christ and your pastor…
Before Craig lost the ability to express his thoughts, he shared some of his struggles, fear, faith, devotion, and “life lessons” on his blog. The following was one of them. May it encourage you and remind you to Love God and Love People. Nothing else matters.
“Meaning is not something that you stumble across, like an answer to a riddle or a prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life.Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you.” -Anonymous
As I sit here nearing the end of my own life, I have been reflecting on this quote that I found about 10 years ago……The things that I think about and cherish the most are my family and other loved ones; the most important thing in my life is Love and friendship, and my faith in God. Love gives meaning to my life.
There are many other things that can give meaning to your life, but without these three things, I think it is difficult to find true happiness and inner peace.
Love God. Love your family. Love your friends. For that matter, show love to strangers. Use your love to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s easy.
My love for my wife and kids is what gets me up every morning. I have been completely overwhelmed by all the love that people have shown me over this past year – whether it be a caring email, a meal made with love, a visit, or a phone call. I’ve always known that I’ve had wonderful friends and family, but complete strangers have reached out to our family and have loved us and supported us. It has been awe inspiring. I am so thankful to God that he has put you all in my life.
I truly love you all. Your love gives me strength and helps keep me going.