Coincidence vs Tender Mercy

I am convinced that there are very few “coincidences’ in this life and many more “tender mercies.”  There are situations that occur all around me that some people would either dismiss as a coincidence or they wouldn't see them at all.

Those same situations seen though different eyes are evidences of the tender mercies of the Lord.  He sees us, knows of our needs, and blesses us with these tender mercies, to let us know that he cares—that he is mindful of our specific needs.

I could relate countless times in my life when I have seen these tender mercies of the Lord.  However, if shared too many of these situations, this blog would no longer be anonymous.  

So let me just share one instance.   And I will break it down into its smallest parts.   Any one of those parts could be considered a coincidence.  But all put together they were part of a giant tender mercy.

  1. A while back I was stuck on Step 6 dealing with identifying our own character weaknesses.
  2. Since we study a different step each week, this particular week we just happened to  be reviewing Step 6.
  3. That night we had a visitor to our group.  He normally went to a different group.  But due to a conflict on that night, he just happened to come to our group.
  4. During the sharing time, that visitor just happened to  feel comfortable enough, to share his experience with Step 6.  He shared that he had been under the impression that as he gave up his addiction, everything else in his life could remain the same.  He said that was not true.
  5. As he was giving his explanation, an image just happened to appear in my mind.  It was an iceberg.  And I understood it to represent my addiction (at least the portion above the water).  But the larger area below the water represented my character weaknesses.  And as the addiction lessened (ice melting above the water), those character weaknesses would begin to surface..  (Click here to see my other post on this subject)
  6. That had been on a Wednesday night.  The following Friday morning, I felt emotionally drained and miserable, due to feelings that I could not interpret.  At the same time I just happened to remember the image of the iceberg.  Was it related?
  7. I just happened to already have an appointment with my therapist that same afternoon.  In that meeting he explained that the iceberg was a great metaphor for what was actually happening to me.  I was experiencing emotions that I had previously suppressed with my addiction.
The items listed above are all related.  Any one of them could have been considered a coincidence.  But all together, they were definitely a tender mercy of the Lord.  He blessed me with what I needed at the very time I needed it. Moreover, if any one of those items was missing, I would not have understood the message I needed to understand. (Click here to see my post on the Importance of Timing) If I had not been on Step 6, none of this would have had any impact on me.

Check out other tender mercies in the Index.

The following is a quote by Elder David A. Bednar.  Please note what he says about the Lord's timing.

“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 testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon 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.”

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