Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 13, 2012

Two Military Men

Although the news was not unexpected, it was nevertheless painful to hear. Yesterday evening we received word that Craig Reynolds, my brother-in-law, had passed away. The past several months have been incredibly difficult as the cancer in Craig’s body spread and began to systematically eat away at his strong frame, reducing him to half his body weight. A few weeks ago Craig lost the ability to eat and had to begin a feeding regimen through a tube inserted in his abdomen. On our last visit, Craig told me, “I can’t eat anymore — one of the few things that you can still enjoy as death nears. But I can breathe!” Craig never complained but instead tried to see the upside of things. At one of the last meals that Cheryl and I shared at his home, he even took the time to come into the kitchen to help prepare for us what he could not enjoy himself. Craig continued to find small ways to serve others to the end.

I marveled at how Craig could stand the intense pain he suffered in the final weeks of his life. I was even more surprised when he insisted that his pain medication be regulated so that he could still feel a bit of pain. He did not want to be entirely numbed or sedated. Craig said that he still wanted to feel a little bit of pain because even a slender thread of pain kept him tethered to what it feels like to be alive and aware of your surroundings. Perhaps it was a combination of his strong faith and his military training, but Craig continued to bear as much of the responsibility for his own care as he could until the very end when he was in and out of consciousness. I think that this was also his way of easing the burden of care on Cindie, his wife. He understood how hard she was working to manage the household and everything associated with his care. Watching how Craig faced death gave new meaning to “Rock” — the nickname given to him by the men in his Bible study group.

For those of us who knew him, Craig was indeed a rock-solid man. His faith in Christ was unwavering, even throughout the years he served in the military and flew search and rescue missions in Vietnam. And his commitment to his family was rock-solid as well. Craig was a source of godly counsel and sound advice shaped by a lifetime of having developed a strong Biblical worldview. And it was his Biblical worldview that ultimately prepared him to face death with confidence. In the past months Craig often quoted 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” Craig faced death with the confident assurance that it would not be the end but instead an entrance into the very presence of the Lord whom he loved and had served for a lifetime. Craig was privileged to meet lots of important and renowned leaders throughout his military career, but all of this pales by comparison to what Craig experienced the moment he took his final breath — meeting Jesus face to face.

This morning, as I reflected on Craig’s life as a military man, I thought about the centurion who approached Jesus in Capernaum. This military man asked Jesus to heal his servant who was lying paralyzed at home. When Jesus agreed to go to the man’s home to heal his servant, the centurion told Jesus that he was not worthy to have Him come under his roof but believed that Jesus could heal his servant by merely speaking a word. That exchange prompted Jesus to say, ”Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith” (Matt. 8:10). I think it’s interesting that the guy who expressed the kind of faith that got the attention of Jesus was a military man who understood what it is like to be in authority and under authority. Maybe Jesus will introduce Craig to that centurion in heaven and these two military men who demonstrated great faith will reflect on how beautiful it was to trust in Jesus. We will miss Craig and everything that his presence meant to our family but know that we will see him again. We grieve with hope. Fair winds and following seas, Captain Reynolds.


Responses

  1. My prayers and deepest sympathy are with you, Cheryl, Craig’s wife, and all who loved him at this time. This morning while studying Hebrews my heart parked on verse 23 of Chapter 10. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” I have prayed this and what comes before and a little after over Craig’s wife. A beautiful post, a beautiful life as a testament of faith and courage! I send this with the love of Christ and ask that you all experience his presence in comfort and peace in the Blessed Assurance that Jesus was Craig’s and He was Jesus’s.

    Sicerely,
    Kelly Pichon on behalf of Aaron and I

  2. Omar,

    You have such a gift with words and we will cherish the articles you have written about Craig. As I traveled home last night to Austin, my brother called to let me know of Craig’s passing. Because of our faith and the person Craig was, I felt a large burden being lifted off of me. I was lucky enough to have such a man in my life, that continually helped me spiritually grow. Even on his death bed he continued to be a testimony to us all. We will all see him again one day.

    Clint

  3. His legacy will live on, in the leadership examples he protrayed. God bless his memory and family.

  4. Craig was my father-in-law and though I only knew him for a little over 3 years he was such an example and influence in my life. I am blessed to have known such a courageous and faithful man. He will truly be missed but we all know he is in heaven watching over us.

  5. Beautiful words from a beautiful family who trusts in the Lord our God. Thank you for sharing your precious experience with Craig.

  6. Praying for you, Cheryl and Gina and all the rest of your family during this time! There are so many things we can not and do not understand but as long as we have Jesus, we are able to continue on.
    You are all so strong and inspirational and I am so blessed to know you!
    ~Adrianne Avery

  7. Thank you so much, Omar for sharing of what an outstanding man, Craig was. Ever since I’ve known him, I have felt that he was definitely a Godly man. No better thoughts of a person can be, than to know a person loves God and shows it with his actions.

    My thoughts and prayers have been continually for the family. My precious granddaughters are experiencing the abscence of their Other PaPa, but I thank God that they know that Craig has gone to a much better place. My prayers are for the family that has been left behind, and strength and comfort for the coming days.

    I love this family that have been in my life for a long, long time.

  8. thinking and praying for your family as you miss Craig –

  9. My deepest sympathy to your family. I am very blessed to have met Craig and will miss him dearly.

  10. I worked with Craig and have only worked with him for a couple of months, but as coincidence would have it, my father flew helicopters with Craig, and my father remembered him to be a man of great integrity. When I told Craig who my father was, he also remembered him, and he sat for about an hour telling me about his military career, and I remember thinking, how acomplished he was. I thought at the time he should really write a book, his life story was so interesting. I also remember that he pointed to a picture on his wall of his wife and kids, and I remember him telling me that she was such a blessing in his life and that she brought him closer to Christ than he had ever been previoulsy and it was that relationship with her and Christ that allowed him to be so strong in the face of cancer. I was proud to work with him, and to know him however brief it was. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  11. Omar, what a Blessing you are, eloquent and guided by Gods love. Your eulogy was moving and a wonderful depiction of Craig and his love of Christ, his country and family. It has been a privilege to know this family and be a part of their lives. Christians experience many blessings as we are united by God’s love. And blanketed by his love through each other in times of sorrow. May the strength of the Lord be with the Reynolds family in their time of mourning. Craig is now united with Christ forever watching over us. Blanketing us all….

    • Thanks, Rose. I was nice meeting you this past week. Thanks for all that you have done and will continue to do to support Cindie during these difficult days. We are all grateful for your love and friendship.


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