Ethan’s Baptismal Day Family Portrait
June 2021: Steve’s Sacrament Talk on Miracles
Miracles I’ve seen in my life, and what they’ve taught me about Him
I’d like to begin my remarks with a scripture in 1 Nephi 1:20 which reads:
“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.”
One Saturday morning about a year ago, our family got together with some other ward families to play a pick-up indoor soccer game here at the church building. After one of the goals, my 8 year-old son said he was hot and that he was going to go outside for a minute to get some fresh air to cool off. I nodded and thought that was a pretty reasonable idea. After some time I noticed he had not returned and I started to feel a little concerned. I stopped playing and walked around the building looking for him. I couldn’t find him. Several minutes later, to my relief, we eventually reconnected again in the gym. However, he had clearly been upset about something. When the time came to go home, I had a chance to have some one on one time with him and talk about what had happened. He recounted that when he went outside to cool off, he became locked outside the building in the cold, snowy weather. He had tried opening all the entrance doors around the building, but they were all locked. He didn’t know what to do. He become cold and a bit scared. After several minutes of waiting in the cold, the only thing he thought he could do was to pray. He asked the Lord to help him somehow get back inside. He asked the Lord to help him get out of his situation. After his prayer, he looked up and to his surprise, saw the door open—someone else inside the building happened to leave the building at the exact right time, and through the same door where he was standing. My son was in the right place at the right time, and he simply walked back into the building through the open door. He went on to tell me how excited he was that Heavenly Father heard and answered his prayer— and helped him so quickly. This was a huge testimony builder for him on how God hears and answers us in our times of need.
Now some might say, “That was just a coincidence” or “He was just lucky”
In Elder Bednar’s General Conference address, “Tender Mercies of the Lord”, he says,
“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….The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ….Faithfulness, obedience and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings…”
I also testify that while my son was telling me his tender spiritual experience, I felt the spirit witness to me that this little miracle was from God—and that this would be an experience not only to help my son’s budding testimony, but an experience where he could look back on for years to come and know that his Heavenly Father is very aware of who he is and that He listens and answers his personal prayers.
I’d like to focus my talk some of the miracles I’ve seen in my life, and what they’ve taught me about God. I’m not referring to the “Alma the Younger” or the “First Vision” types of miracles—but the small and simple miracles, or tender mercies, that we might experience more frequently as we recognize the Lord’s hand in our lives.
Let me share personal example that happened to me several months ago. It was at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when not much was really known about the virus. There was much uncertainty felt by many, as well as fear of the unknown. As the weeks passed by, and more chaos ensued, I really started to let some of the outside fear and anxiety creep in and overcome my peace that things were going to be OK for my family—temporally and physically.
While in the car driving home from running some errands, I decided to pray to the Lord about what I was feeling regarding all the uncertainty around me. I asked him to please speak to my heart and comfort me and help me have some type of clarity. Basically, I wanted Him to reassure me that everything was going to be OK. I decided to turn on the radio and listen to some music instead of talk radio or the news which just perpetuated my anxiety. Right when I turned on the radio, these were some of the lyrics to the very first song I heard:
“Everything that I have is yours
You will never go cold or hungry
I’ll be there when you’re insecure
Let you know that you’re always loved
One day when the sky is falling
I’ll be standing right next to you
Right next to you
Nothing will ever come between us
‘Cause I’ll be standing right next to you
Right next to you”
Immediately I knew this was meant for me to hear and the Lord was speaking to me through the lyrics of the song—I knew he was answering my plea for comfort and reassurance. In that moment, all my anxiety ceased, and I felt the sweet peace and reassurance of the spirit. I knew the Lord was with me and He was going to help me and my family through the unknown—whatever that looked like.
When I reflect on small miracles such as this, it teaches me several truths about God’s nature:
-He’s keenly aware of us—not just as a group, but individually.
-It teaches me that He is present in the small and seemingly insignificant moments, but moments that are really important to us—and if it’s important to us, then it’s important to Him.
-It teaches me God meets us where we’re at. We don’t need to “arrive” at a certain place spiritually before He’s willing to help. As we come to Him, He helps us because we are his children.
-Experiences like this also teach me about His unconditional love. We don’t have to earn His love. His love is not based on conditions or achievements. He loves us not matter where we’re at in our spiritual walk with Him.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said,
“God is pervasively and lovingly in the details of things, yet does not constrict our moral agency in any way. Rather, in his perfect love and awareness, he pays perfect and strict attention to details. And his influence is felt in many ways that are quite remarkable even in what seem to be the smallest of life’s episodes. Why should we be surprised? Has he not told us that a hair shall not fall from the head unnoticed or a sparrow fall from the air? His divine attention is clearly far beyond our comprehension. But it is nevertheless a reality of which he has reassured us.”
Another personal experience of a small miracle, or tender mercy, in my life happened a couple weeks ago while I was working. I’m an account manager for a scientific company where we sell equipment, chemicals, and consumables to pharma and biotech companies and universities. A customer of mine placed a bulk order for some chemicals for an important project, and I was responsible to get this order processed and shipped out on time so the customer could meet specific deadlines. Unaware to me, this order never got sent to the right team for processing. Weeks later the customer, approached me about where were in the shipping process. I was completely shocked to find out the order was never placed to begin with. This was a made-to-order item with a pretty significant lead time, so even if the order was placed right then, the customer would still be weeks late for their deadlines. I didn’t know what to do or how I was going to resolve this.
If I ever needed divine intervention, it was in that moment. After I got off the phone, I knelt down and asked the Lord to please intervene if possible. I asked him to soften the hearts of my customer, individuals on my team, and if there was anything that could be done to expedite the order.
Only a few minutes later, I received a phone call from a member of my team giving me an update. He said he spoke with someone at one of our warehouses and they noticed our team’s urgent request and he happened to find this specific chemical the customer needed—which was normally never stocked, let alone in those specific quantities. In the end, the chemicals shipped on time and everything worked out for this customer.
The Lord’s tender mercies are real. He wasn’t surprised or shocked by this problem I faced. In his infinite wisdom and perfect timing, there was a solution. I know the Lord was working behind the scenes on my behalf, possibly months before this problem even existed, to make it possible for this chemical to be readily available for my situation. I’m so grateful for the Lord’s willingness to intervene on our behalf.
In the same conference address, “Tender Mercies of the Lord”, Elder Bednar also said,
“I know that [Christ] lives and that His tender mercies are available to all of us. Each of us can have eyes to see clearly and ears to hear distinctly the tender mercies of the lord as they strengthen and assist us in these latter days.”
We all can experience small miracles in our lives, and if you ponder about it for a minute, I’m sure you can think of some examples in your own lives where the Lord intervenes in very loving and simple ways on your behalf. Whether it be an answer to your prayer, an act of service from someone right when you need it the most, a phone call, a spiritual prompting, a good break, a promotion, or being at the right place at the right time. Those are examples of God orchestrating his favor in your life and demonstrating His divine love for you. It’s like He’s reaching out and saying, “See I’m here. I love you. I’m in this with you and we’ll get through this together. Don’t give up, keep going. It’s OK.”
In closing, I’d like to share a scripture in Mormon 9:11:
“But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.”