Later Elder Bednar testified of a small miracle that happened during that rest hymn. This is how he described his experience:
“Then we all stood together to sing the intermediate hymn that previously had been announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley. The intermediate hymn that morning was “Redeemer of Israel” (Hymns, no. 6).Small Miracles
Now, the music for the various conference sessions had been determined many weeks before—and obviously long before my new call to serve. If, however, I had been invited to suggest an intermediate hymn for that particular session of the conference—a hymn that would have been both edifying and spiritually soothing for me and for the congregation before my first address in this Conference Center—I would have selected my favorite hymn, “Redeemer of Israel.” Tears filled my eyes as I stood . . to sing that stirring hymn of the Restoration.
Near the conclusion of the singing, to my mind came this verse from the Book of Mormon:
“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 Ne. 1:20).
My mind was drawn immediately to Nephi’s phrase “the tender mercies of the Lord,” and I knew in that very moment I was experiencing just such a tender mercy. A loving Savior was sending me a most personal and timely message of comfort and reassurance through a hymn selected weeks previously. Some may count this experience as simply a nice coincidence, but 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.” (David A. Bednar, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2005, 99)
Small miracles, such as this happen all the time. They are very personal and individualized blessings that we receive from the Lord. They come in a very timely manner, and provide us just he help and support we need – just when we need it most. Such blessings might include: strength, protection, assurance, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts. All these are according to the tender mercies of the Lord. He knows us, he knows our challenges in life, and He knows what we need to get through them.
I Will Not Leave You Comfortless
Jesus instructed his Apostles that he would not leave them comfortless. He promised them that he would send them the Holy Ghost, but also that He would come to them as well.
We read in John 14:15-18Elder Bednar explains one way in which the Savior may come to us:
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
“Let me suggest that one of the ways whereby the Savior comes to each of us is through His abundant and tender mercies. For instance, as you and I face challenges and tests in our lives, the gift of faith and an appropriate sense of personal confidence that reaches beyond our own capacity are two examples of the tender mercies of the Lord. Repentance and forgiveness of sins and peace of conscience are examples of the tender mercies of the Lord. And the persistence and the fortitude that enable us to press forward with cheerfulness through physical limitations and spiritual difficulties are examples of the tender mercies of the Lord.”
I had never thought of this scripture in this way. Think of the times in your life when you have been supported and sustained by the Lord, in a very personal way. Think of the joy you have received as you have repented and been cleansed of your sins through the power of Jesus’ Atoning Sacrifice.
Like the people of Alma the Elder, when they were laden with many burdens. Their prayers ascended up to the Lord. Instead of removing the burdens from them, the Lord strengthened them so that their burdens became light.
We read in Mosiah 24:15
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.Sometimes the answer to our prayers is not to make the challenge or trial go away, but to give us strength to endure what lies be for us.
The Iraq War Widow
Consider this example, of a wife and mother who recently lost her husband while he was serving with the military in Iraq. She was asked to speak in her stake conference. Elder Bednar recounts her testimony:
“In December of 2003. This stalwart sister recounted how, after being notified of her husband’s death, she received his Christmas card and message. In the midst of the abrupt reality of a dramatically altered life came to this good sister a timely and tender reminder that indeed families can be together forever. With permission I quote from that Christmas card:Again, the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite His tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings.
“To the best family in the world! Have a great time together and remember the true meaning of Christmas! The Lord has made it possible for us to be together forever. So even when we are apart, we will still be together as a family.
“God bless and keep y’all safe and grant this Christmas to be our gift of love from us to Him above!!!
“All my love, Daddy and your loving husband!”
Clearly, the husband’s reference to being apart in his Christmas greeting referred to the separation caused by his military assignment. But to this sister, as a voice from the dust from a departed eternal companion and father, came a most needed spiritual reassurance and witness.”
I have recently been a recipient of the tender mercies of the Lord. The last six months I have been faced with many health challenges. I was hospitalized for a week with a serious infection. I was on IV antibiotics at home for two months.
There were many who fasted and prayed on my behalf. My family and I fasted and prayed that my body might heal so that I would not be required to have surgery. Many people my ward, and in this stake have remembered me in their prayers. Some of my co-workers have prayed on my behalf. Even people whom I have never met, through the Internet, have prayed for me. I received priesthood blessings from my home teacher, and from the bishopric of my ward. I appreciate all the prayers and support that I have received. I want you to know that those prayers were answered. When I was in the hospital, the likelihood of having further surgery seemed like a foregone conclusion.
However, I recently underwent some medical tests, which indicated that surgery would not be needed after all. My family and I have rejoiced and thanked the Lord for our blessings.
I believe that this great blessing in my life is a direct result of the faith and prayers in my behalf. The Lord in his tender mercies, saw fit to bless and heal me, and has heard and answered our prayers.
The Lord Knows who you are – Yes YOU!
Elder Bednar relates a story of a priesthood leader who was prompted to memorize the names of all the youth in his stake ages 13 to 21. Using photos of the youth, he created flashcards that he used to learn the names and faces of every youth.
One night the priesthood leader had a dream about one of the young men whom he knew only from a picture. In the dream he saw the young man dressed in a white shirt and wearing a missionary name tag. With a companion seated at his side, the young man was teaching a family. The young man held the Book of Mormon in his hand, and he looked as if he were testifying of the truthfulness of the book. The priesthood leader then awoke from his dream.
Later at a priesthood gathering, the leader approached the young man he had seen in his dream and asked to talk with him for a few minutes. After a brief introduction, the leader called the young man by name and said: “I am not a dreamer. I have never had a dream about a single member of this stake, except for you. I am going to tell you about my dream, and then I would like you to help me understand what it means.”
The priesthood leader recounted the dream and asked the young man about its meaning. Choking with emotion, the young man simply replied, “It means God knows who I am.” The remainder of the conversation between this young man and his priesthood leader was most meaningful, and they agreed to meet and counsel together from time to time during the following months.
That young man received the Lord’s tender mercies through an inspired priesthood leader.
When we receive of these gifts and blessings, it is a witness and testimony to us that God really knows who we are, and what we stand in need of. It is a witness that he is personally involved in our lives, and wants to bless us so that we can succeed in returning home to him.
Again, the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. We should not underestimate the power and the involvement that the Lord has in each of our individual lives.
Other examples of the Tender Mercies of the Lord
- Being members of the church, and enjoying the blessings of the restored gospel
- The scriptures
- The priesthood
- Living Prophets
How can we Receive the Tender Mercies of the Lord
Now that we have talked about some examples of what the tender mercies of the Lord might be, let’s discuss how we can place ourselves in a position to receive these wonderful gifts and blessings.
Lets return to 1 Nephi 1:20, which we read earlier:
“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 Ne. 1:20).Those who are faithful and obedient are the chosen of the Lord. And the chosen are they who receive the tender mercies of the Lord.
In Doctrine and Covenants we read:
D&C 121:34-34Ultimately we determine, by our faith and actions, whether or not we will be chosen. It is up to us. The Lord stands ready to bless our lives in many ways, but we must come unto Him, on His terms, to receive those blessings.
34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men . . “
Now think of the times in your own life when the Lord has visited you, and blessed you with his tender mercies in your hour of need.
Be sure to offer your thanks to the Lord, and express your gratitude for the gifts that you have already been given.
Live so that you may remain close to the Lord and be obedient that he may be able to bless you abundantly with his tender mercies.