The prophet Nephi writes that the Book of Mormon will contain a record of the tender mercies that are “over those he has chosen” (1 Nephi 1:20). The Psalmist also refers to tender mercies, praying first for them (Psalms 119:77), and then praising their greatness (Psalms 119:156).
Most believers can cite examples of the Lord’s tender mercies in our lives, for we often attribute good things that happen to Him. Our less believing friends may cite coincidence or chance, but I believe those of us who believe can know the Lord’s presence in our lives. Not only do we see seemingly random events align at times, but we find specific answers to our questions, circumstances that meet our needs, or blessings that come when needed, but not expected. And, for me most importantly, these tender mercies are often accompanied by the witness of the Holy Ghost that they are more than just happenstance.
There are, to be sure, great mercies in my life: the opportunity to repent and improve myself, thanks to the atoning sacrifice of the Savior, the spirit I feel when engaged in a priesthood ordinance. But there are countless smaller mercies – seemingly simple and insignificant moments that, when combined, point to a Heavenly Father who knows me and blesses me.
That is not to say I always get what I want when I want it. And it certainly does not mean that I do not face adversity. But even in adversity, I can look back and see the Lord’s hand in my life, sometimes guiding me through it, sometimes protecting me from further harm, and sometimes simply letting me know He is there, despite my suffering.
I have come to realize a righteous life is not free from trial or sadness. Why would I think so?! The Savior was the most righteous, and His life was not without sadness or pain. In fact, many of the prophets endured adversity somewhere along their path.
The Lord’s tender mercies allow us to find joy even in the midst of the storm. Our prayer to rescue us from the storm may not be answered by a break in the clouds, but by a boat strong enough to cut through the churning waves.