Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tender Mercies


          The Sunday before last I was driving home from church and I told my roommate about a situation in my life I had been slightly concerned about.  I’m not going to write it down here because it would seem small and silly to most people.   I am not even going to have to face the situation for a while.  My roommate Alison listened and looked at me and said, “Why don’t you use this as an opportunity to pray for a small miracle in your life?”  So that night I started to pray.  The next day I was asked by my Family Home Evening group leader to give a thought on Tender Mercies the following week.  Interesting timing, right?
         Several years ago, my roommate came home worried because she had lost her wallet and had no clue where it could be.  The next day I was at the grocery store shopping for food and while I was getting rung up, a girl came into the store, walked up to the cashier and told her she had found a lost wallet outside the grocery store.  I remember it had been snowing so it was impressive she had even seen it on the ground.   I watched as she opened up the wallet and pulled out the identification and said my roommate’s name.  I quickly said that I knew that owner of the wallet and that I would let them know right away to come pick it up.  I was shocked.  I couldn’t believe it.  What were the chances of me being at the exact right place and at the exact right moment when the wallet had been found? Many people would call this a coincidence.  I believe it is something more.  Elder Bednar taught “tender mercies are very personal and individualized blessings that we receive from the Lord. They come in a very timely manner, and provide us [with the] help and support we need – just when we need it most.”  Experiences like mine are frequently incomprehensible, but that doesn’t make them any less real. 
          As I studied about tender mercies in preparation for my lesson, I learned there are two rules we can apply to a situation to see if it might be a tender mercy.  The first rule is found in D&C 46:15, “And again, to some it is given…according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.”(emphasis added)  From this scripture we learn that the Lord is able to suit his tender mercies according to the condition we are currently in.  The second rule is found in Alma 25:17, “the Lord had granted unto them according to their prayers, and …he had also verified his word unto them in every particular.” (emphasis added)  From this scripture we learn that the Lord is also aware of the particular needs that fill our life. These two scriptures lead us to believe that if a coincidence is suited to condition we are in, and fills a particular need, it might not be a coincidence after all.  Instead, we should view it as a tender mercy from the Lord (http://dailyclosertochrist.com/)  Elder Bednar taught “I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of his tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them.”

How can we recieve tender mercies in our lives?
       1.    Faith
“But behold I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, (And why are they chosen?)  because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Nephi 1:20). 

       2.    Obedience
“It is our hearts and our aspirations and our obedience which definitively determine whether we are counted as one of God’s chosen.” Elder Bednar

       3.    Gratitude
"We should be grateful for all the tender mercies that come into our lives.  We are unaware of hosts of blessings that we receive from day to day. It is extremely important that we have a spirit of gratitude in our hearts." Elder Cook

          I cannot imagine living a life where I did not have a knowledge of the Gospel.  I believe all things denote that there is a God and if we are mindful, we will see indications of His love and power in our lives and in the world around us.