I had a really hard day Sunday. Actually, it’s been a hard month. (We all have them, right?) I went to church feeling rather numb and weary. I felt like I needed some strength and help with things pressing on my soul. But I wasn’t even sure what I needed.
But God knew.
Several things happened…just little things, but all together, they wove a pattern in my day that let me know that God was aware of my needs. He gave me answers and perspective as I listened to the Young Women General Meeting with my family. He filled my heart with peace and love as I curled up on the couch with my children. He addressed concerns I had as I read through a Church magazine. He gave me thoughts that brought clarity about questions and concerns I had been wrestling with for the past several weeks.
A few years ago, Elder David A. Bednar gave a talk entitled, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord.” It was a talk that impacted members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a significant way. Why do I say this? Because “tender mercies” was not really part of our Mormon vocabulary before this talk (although the phrase is found in scripture). He helped validate what we have known and felt in our lives — that God really is there, He is aware of us, that His help and guidance and support is real. As we seek Him, we can find Him through tender mercies.
One of the things that struck me about his talk was the repeated emphasis on one way we can know that divine help has been given. He said 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.”
I am grateful that Elder Bednar gave this talk because I feel it has helped me try to be more aware of the tender mercies of the Lord in my life. It’s especially when the timing just seems too uncanny that I know to try to see with spiritual eyes how the Lord is helping me along.
Tender mercies come both at times of great joy and also during times of trial. I have found that sometimes they are subtle, and often there are, as I experienced Sunday, patterns in the small things that happen that leave a trail of light, helping me feel closer to heaven. Sometimes tender mercies come in one day, and sometimes they trickle into my life over days, weeks, months, even years. Sometimes they come only after significant struggle, prayer, pondering, and searching. But they come. Becoming more aware of tender mercies in my life has strengthened my conviction that God knows me personally and is aware of the details of my life.
I love this from Elder Bednar:
When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Ne. 1:20).
I know God is there and that through tender mercies, you and I can feel and know of His love and the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Church recently created a video with highlights from this wonderful talk. I wanted to share it here.