Seeing God’s Tender Mercies


Not too long ago, I let my faith and hope be shaken. For me, it’s not about the big things that happen in life — that’s part of life. I struggle with having a “transactional” view of how my faith should work. It’s silly when I consciously think about it. It boils down to my unconscious belief that, if I live the gospel to the best of my ability, then at some point (usually as I determine it) God should bless me with the things I think I should have. So, when I realized I was back in a “same song, who knows which verse we’re on — I lost count” episode, it rocked me. I began questioning my faith, mostly because the gospel “wasn’t really working for me.” I call it my “red-headed stepchild syndrome.”

Getting back into a normal routine of work, etc. helped, even though work carries its own demands and concerns. At least I have other things to focus on and my mind doesn’t keep running in circles around my problems. I have a purpose, and it feels good.

The sister missionaries have been coming to my home once a week for a while now, because they are teaching gospel lessons to a friend of mine. It’s been a wonderful experience for me, because I get to hear what I believe retaught in its most basic form.

On this particular night, right after I had slipped back into my “syndrome,” the sisters felt that reading a couple of chapters of scripture would be most appropriate. Here’s the verse that struck me the most:
2 Nephi 31:20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
What hit me hard about the verse was realizing that I am commanded to have hope. I had never considered the idea before, because I had always viewed hope as a side-effect of living well and having close communication with the Holy Spirit. Now, I had to consider that maybe I needed to exercise faith and hope like muscles — which means using them even when I didn’t really feel like it.

Tender Mercies

In short, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ are tender and compassionate. In mercy, They walk beside us and give us the things we need while we are growing in spiritual stature. When I stopped looking for God to give me the miracles I want the way that I want them and began looking for the ways that I have been shown that He is with me, I realized I was very blessed:

  • I’ve already mentioned having the missionaries in my home. They bring with them an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, which lightens my load and gives me strength.
  • I have visiting teachers that spend an incredible amount of time with me every month, and who genuinely want to connect with me. They rejoice when I am happy and pick me up when I’ve fallen down. They’ve listened to me whine and actually act like things I have to say about the gospel are insightful. (I hope that my thoughts are insightful!) Where many in the church seem to feel the program is artificial, these two sisters of mine use it as an opportunity to build true friendship.
  • During the time I was hurting the most, I struck out at my son’s leaders. Instead of responding in kind, they responded with concern because they felt like my words and attitude were out of character. They discreetly inquired with those who would know to find out what is going on, and have made a deeper commitment to rallying around my son and helping me raise him well for as long as I might have left with him (until he goes to live with his dad).
  • On my birthday, I rediscovered what amazing friends I am surrounded by. My best friend, and fiance, went to extraordinary efforts to make sure I received flowers at work and still remain on budget. Another friend baked me a cake. Someone that I wasn’t sure would remember texted to send her good wishes and to check up on my day. Another gave me the gift that only she could give. I am surrounded by love.

If you’d like to read more about tender mercies, here are some good resources:

Guide to the Scriptures: Merciful, Mercy

Tender Mercies of the Lord

How Can I Learn to See Heavenly Father’s Hand in All Things?

Why Me?

Yes, I asked the question. Usually, I don’t receive an answer. This time, I received an answer, but I didn’t like it. I am making peace with the concepts I was taught.

In the end, it’s all about faith. Do I really know that I have chosen to follow a loving Heavenly Father and live by the truth that He has given me? Do I really believe that He has my eternal best interests at heart? Am I “in it” only for what I can get, or am I “in it” because it’s right?

I have come to the conclusion that I have received too many witnesses that what I believe is true to walk away, so I’m in — totally. That’s means the “why me” really doesn’t matter — I know I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing, touching the people I am supposed to touch — it’s all part of a divinely perfect plan.

1 Comment

  1. I totally agree with you. Faith and hope are our weapons to fight against the senseless world. A soldier wouldn’t put his gun down on the battlefield because “it’s getting too heavy”. We ought to protect and sharpen our swords of faith and hope and use them! I wrote a similar post on my blog Come by. I think we are like-minded 🙂

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