Monday, September 29, 2014

Tender Mercies

A few years ago Elder David A. Bednar gave a talk about Tender Mercies. He mentioned a scripture in the first chapter in the Book of Mormon which says, "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." (1 Nephi 1:20). He said that, the way he understands tender mercies, they are like post-it notes that the Lord leaves in our lives to say "I love you." Little miracles that, in some divine and special way, communicate how much He cares about us.

Last Thursday, I finished studying at about 11:00 PM. I was exhausted, drained, and brain-dead. I knew that I would need to be awake by 6:00 AM the next morning to continue studying and working on homework if I was going to be able to finish all of the week's homework assignments. As I started the walk back home from campus, a 15-20 minute walk, I said a little prayer: "God, I'm tired, and I'd love a ride home."

As I walked down the hill towards the street below, I started thinking about miracles and tender mercies. In my experience, miracles usually come when I have given my best effort and have nothing else left to give, when my best effort isn't enough to do whatever I'm attempting. However, if I haven't yet given my best effort, sometimes God withholds a miracle so that I have a chance to learn and grow before receiving divine help. Maybe that's what was going to happen here? I'd grow stronger by making the 15 minute walk home even though I was exhausted and would have to get up early the next day. 

In fact, that would probably be the best thing for me down the road, I began to rationalize. So, I shouldn't actually expect anyone to be there to give me a ride at the bottom of the hill, even though God definitely does have the power to do something like that.

I smiled to myself and started forward. A car honked; I ignored it.

"Jason! Hey! Where are you going, and do you want a ride?" This time I turned around. 

A friend from North Carolina that I hadn't seen in 3 years gave me a ride back home. Along with resting my tired legs, I got to catch up with him as we talked about our missions

After I thanked him for being a literal answer to my prayers, I hopped out of the car and walked to my apartment, thinking about tender mercies. Little miracles that God really doesn't have to do--I would have survived the walk--but that let Him tell me He loves me. 

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