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  • Writer's pictureNathan Carlson

Cory, a Lesson in Faithfulness

I wouldn’t trade the God I know now with the God I knew before; he is far more real now,” reflected pastor Dave after he and his wife JoAnn recounted to me the heartbreaking story of the accidental death of their son Cory, a frolicking, fun-loving, nine-year-old kid. On March 14, 2011, while retrieving a gun from the family’s gun safe, he mishandled the .22 rifle that he had safely used so many times before. His mother, JoAnn, heard the pop and ran downstairs to find Cory unconscious and bleeding from a serious head wound. Dave and JoAnn rushed him to the local medical center two miles away where he was quickly flown via Flight For Life helicopter to the nearest hospital. Despite their efforts, Cory died in route.

Now, nine years later, Cory’s parents shared with me wisdom born from grief, so great that at times their only goal was to simply breathe and that was enough. “Tears are your friend, a good shower for your soul,” mused JoAnn, and she would know. It was three months following Cory’s death before she had a cry-free day.

Dave and JoAnn did not run from their pain or attempt to mask it. Instead, they embraced it. Dave explained: “This grieving time was my goodbye, and I did not want to miss any of it. I wanted to hurt like I should hurt. I wanted to live in the pain because I was saying goodbye to someone really important.”

What caused these parents to emerge from this tragedy without a hint of bitterness and with a far greater love for God? “You have to trust that God can write your story better than you,” pastor Dave explained. Such trust is born from an unwavering confidence in the awesomeness and fear of a God whose most tender affection for us is just as inexplicable as his unfathomable universe.

“Why would I be angry with God, the one person that I know can get me through this?” JoAnn wisely said as the previous nine years replayed in her mind.

“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2) ESV

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