In one of my all-time favorite conference talks, Elder David A. Bednar spoke about the "tender mercies" of the Lord.
"What are the 'tender mercies of the Lord'?", he asked.
His answer: "Through personal study, observation, pondering, and prayer, I believe I have come to better understand that the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."
In short, tender mercies are how the Lord lets us know that He is aware of us, and that He loves us. As I think about the times in my life when I have recognized the tender mercies of the Lord, I notice that they always come when I am in most desperate need of them. And lately, I have needed them. Let me share a few of the tender mercies the Lord has shown me recently...
A couple of months ago now, I asked for a priesthood blessing from my dad at the start of a new semester. I have been getting these blessings every school year since I was a kid, so I don't know why I am always amazed at the fact that my dad addresses my exact, and very specific, concerns -- often having nothing at all to do with school. How
On Tuesday of this week, our home-teachers came by. We had a nice visit, and then Brother Jones shared a message with us. He shared parts of President Monson's talk from general conference this month, entitled "I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee". He could have chosen any talk, but he chose this one. Many (most?) of you are aware of the trial that Mary and I are going through as we try to increase our family. But our home-teacher is not aware of this struggle. Yet he was inspired to share a beautiful message with us about how the Lord is aware of us and the trials we are going through. He will not forsake us, but will help us through these difficult times if we rely on him. The Spirit was so strong as he shared this message. I am so grateful for a loving home-teacher who listened to the Spirit and prepared a message for us that seemed tailored to our very specific situation.
Last night we had the opportunity to attend the temple and perform sealings with a group from our ward. We, and two other couples from the ward were joined by another couple that was at the temple alone. The sister in that couple had such a beautiful spirit about her. Her countenance glowed. As I took my turn as one of the witnesses, I watched her face as she knelt across the alter from her husband and performed the sealing ordinances. I could tell that she was moved by the words of the sealer, and in turn I was moved as well. When we were finished with the sealings, before we left the sealing room she approached us and asked us how long we have been married. When we told her that we are coming up on seven years, she asked how many children we have. We responded that we don't have any children yet. Even though we obviously did not go into the specifics of our situation, she seemed to understand. She replied, "So you're still waiting for that miracle to happen. One of our children was also waiting for a long time for that miracle, and theirs finally came. And yours will too." I felt a wave of compassion from her. How had this complete stranger known exactly what to say to us? The only explanation is that the Lord gave her those words. It is remarkable how the Lord blesses us through our brothers and sisters.
When we were married, our sealer told us that our future children we smiling down and rejoicing as they watched us enter into the sacred covenants that would seal us -- and them -- together for all eternity. Sometimes Mary and I joke -- "if they were so excited, what are they waiting for?!"... We want to be parents more than anything. And we both know that our miracle will happen. I will be a dad. But sometimes, its easy to get discouraged and to wonder how much longer we will have to wait. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for His tender mercies that keep me going. Lately, I feel like Heavenly Father has been reaching out to me, almost as if to say "hang in there, just a little longer". He knows what is best for His children. So I will keep hoping, and trusting, and waiting.