My son isn’t coming home. At least, he’s not coming home in the foreseeable future. My heart is broken. The back of my throat knots up and it becomes hard to swallow and even breathe; tears randomly pool up in my eyes and roll down my cheek.
I really believed that Heavenly Father would answer our prayers, and those of our friends who prayed on our behalf. My husband, Kev, was convinced Cory would be released, and had begun to set his room in order in anticipation of his return.
For those who do not know, here are the stats: Cory was stopped for speeding and the police officer found pot in his car. The charges were ultimately dismissed, but because Cory did not show up for his court appearances, he was arrested and given 2-years in county jail. Three months into his time, the guards tossed his cell and found a shank made by another inmate. For this, Cory was given an additional 6-year sentence and moved to state prison. He has served 4 years of the time. This was the second time he was up for parole and it was denied.
There is a part of me that is so angry at the injustice that I want to scream and yell and break something—which, I know, would not really be helpful. I feel such rage inside; that I cannot fix this or change this outcome.
I know that Heavenly Father could have given us this blessing; that Cory received parole and came home. But He sees something I cannot and so His answer is “no,” or maybe the better term is “not yet.”
Elder Gene R. Cook said:
“Sometimes when a prayer appears to go unanswered, it is because it is being answered in a greater way than we can perceive. When we face these trials, we must double our faith lest we lose it.” (New Era, Oct 1982, 4)
The prophet Alma writes,
“And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; . . . asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive” (Alma 7:23).
I am grateful that Cory’s heart is not broken like mine is. I am grateful that Heavenly Father has given Cory comfort and assurance that he has not been abandoned and that his prayers are still heard. Cory was so calm when he called to tell us. He said, “I have been knocked down so many times in my life. I cannot let this be the time I don’t get back up.” I am grateful for the growth of his testimony and his strength.
Elder Russell M. Nelson said:
“I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered. We wonder, ‘Why?’ I know that feeling! I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated. I know that an all-wise Heavenly Father’s perspective is much broader than is ours. While we know of our mortal problems and pain, He knows of our immortal progress and potential” (Ensign, Nov. 2005, 86).
I cannot control this situation, but I can control my attitude toward it. I can show faith and trust in my Heavenly Father, who knows me (and Cory) better than I know myself.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “The issue for us is trusting God enough to trust also His timing. If we can truly believe He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His plans unfold as He thinks best? The same is true with the Second Coming and with all those matters wherein our faith needs to include faith in the Lord’s timing for us personally, not just in His overall plans and purposes.” (Even As I Am (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1982), 93.)
The thing is: God did not say “no” to Cory ever getting out and coming home. He said “no” to his coming home right now. I hope when the time comes for Cory’s release that we will look back and see the why. But, if we never understand why he was not released at this time, I can still trust that Heavenly Father sees a bigger plan. Because one of the things I know for sure is: God loves His children.
One of my favorite scriptures talks about this. An angel asked Nephi, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” Nephi’s response is a powerful lesson. He answers with something he knows for sure and with something he does not: “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:16-17).
I love this scripture because it reminds me that I do not have to know why Heavenly Father did not answer my pleading for a blessing or why things happen a certain way, because I can hold on to the fact that I know that He loves me. One day, He will set things in order and those who trusted in Him will be blessed with eternal life. That’s something Nephi knew for sure and I do too.
The youngest son in a family I love was driving home from the gym one night this week, when another driver ran a red light, hit and killed him. He was just a few months shy of leaving to serve a 2-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Mexico.
When we adopted Cory, this family and another friend hosted a party to celebrate our finally getting a child. Today, my tears and heavy heart are for this generous and kind family’s loss. It certainly puts my own earlier sadness in perspective.
My friend and I are now both waiting to see our sons again. She will have a much longer wait, until she is reunited with her son.
Why didn’t Heavenly Father preserve the life of her son who was about to leave on a mission? Why didn’t He allow Cory to come home now? I don’t know, but I do know that Heavenly Father loves us. That is what I hold on to.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).
This is a tender promise. The act of wiping away someone’s tears is an intimate and personal gesture. That is the promise from our Savior, Jesus Christ.
My tears will dry. Cory will come home. God will make everything right. I don’t have to know how or when; only that He will. For now, that is enough.