By Cecily Markland
Tender mercies of the Lord. Mentioned nearly a dozen times in the Psalms and known to Nephi, who referred to the “multitude of his tender mercies,” the phrase has frequented modern-day LDS vernacular since Elder David A. Bednar’s April 2005 General Conference address.
He testified that “tender mercies of the Lord” are “individualized blessings” that “are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence.”
Sometimes we speak of “little mercies;” other times, we see heaven and earth move in our behalf, witness orchestration far too intricate to have possibly been due to chance, and are reminded, and awed, by the goodness of the One who is truly in charge.
I experienced that on May 15. I had my bags packed and ready and was waiting for my traveling companion, whose son was taking us to the airport to catch a flight to Washington, DC, for an important conference. The time they were to pick me up came and went, and I began to worry.
Then I got a text from my 38-week pregnant daughter, who lives in Atlanta. At her appointment that morning, the doctor said the baby was measuring small and would do better on the outside. So, without even sending her home to pack a bag, they were admitting her to the hospital and planned to induce labor that afternoon, two weeks before her due date.
I then began to worry a lot. I was expected at the conference, and I wanted to be there; but I wanted to be in Atlanta at the same time. And, I certainly didn’t want to be halfway in between, soaring through the air, with no way of knowing how things were going with my daughter in labor.
When my ride arrived, I quickly explained my dilemma. I also learned she was thinking our flight was at 1:40. It was 1:20. So, without any time to consider an alternate plan, we raced to the airport. On the way, my friend told me she had been induced with two of her four children and everything went fine.
That, alone, was a tender mercy, but, as we checked our bags and headed to the gate, I still felt torn. My friend stepped to the podium and got her seat assignment. I tried to do the same, the agent said the flight was oversold. There wasn’t a seat left for me. The attendant had asked, but no one had volunteered to give up their seat. So, there it was. My daughter had texted just in time, my friend got the time wrong and everyone else on the flight got there ahead of us so I “just happened” to be the one who didn’t have a seat.
Within moments, I had been reimbursed for the flight to Washington, DC, and had a flight to Atlanta that afternoon. The next morning, on May 16, my 16th grandchild was born. And, I was there in Atlanta, all through the tender, wonderful, personally tailored and amazingly tender—oh so tender—mercies of the Lord.