This sister had raised her hand to volunteer to respond to an invitation by the Bishop in his fifth Sunday lesson for ward members to discuss special feelings they had experienced while attending the temple. I knew that it took courage for this sister to talk about this. She has seen significant trials and challenges in her life. Quite honestly, I have for the most part done nothing to help, having no idea what I could do that would be beneficial.
Being that our local temple has been closed for renovation, this sister ended up going to a nearby temple that she had never previously attended. She arrived early to make sure that she could manage parking and getting ready for the session on time. Things went smoothly, providing her ample time to sit quietly in the chapel listening to the reverent organ music.
"I sat there alone. It's okay, I didn't really feel a need to have anyone with me. I've gotten used to it," she said, alluding to some of the family challenges she continues to face. She had told no one outside of her immediate family about her plan to attend the temple that day. She explained how the Bishop had told her to pray for and to expect to receive a tender mercy from the Lord while in the temple.
"As people were filtering into the chapel," she said, "in walked my visiting teacher, the one person that has been with me and stood by me through all of my trials over the past few years. She came and sat by me, saying that she was surprised to see me at that session. She said that she usually didn't go to that session but had come with some other sisters that wanted to attend that session."
The sister said, "I wondered why the Lord had sent this good sister to sit by my side. I didn't really feel a need to have someone with me. But then I recognized that it was a tender mercy from the Lord. It was his way of showing me that he loves me and cares about me individually, despite all that I have gone through."
So many wonderful lessons can be derived from this sister's brief comments.
- There is value in making changes necessary to receive a temple recommend.
- The temple allows for reverent worship apart from the concerns of the world.
- How much more meaningful can temple service be if we attend with the prayerful expectation to receive a tender mercy from the Lord?
- Perhaps we can even be part of providing a tender mercy for another if we are in tune with the Holy Spirit.
- It is always valuable to know within our souls how much the Lord loves us, even when we don't feel like we deserve his love.
It was a tender mercy for me to hear this sister share her experience. I know that I will be more purposeful the next time I go to the temple.