I like conducting spiritual experiments. Maybe I’m a little weird?
Heavenly Father’s formula is simple: Faith + Obedience = Promised Blessings.
And there you have it.
Hundreds of years ago the Lord said to the prophet Malachi,
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal. 3:10.)
Translation: Pay your tithing faithfully and I will bless you more than you can even imagine!
Even though this scripture specifically addresses the law of tithing, it applies to just about every commandment. “Prove me now herewith,” says the Lord. He invites us to exercise a little faith in Him and His laws so that He can keep His word to pour out His blessings in return. Oh, what a visual!
Look outward and serve—and you’ll receive answers to your own prayers.
Make a generous fast offering once a month—and you’ll experience spiritual and temporal miracles.
Extend forgiveness to others—and the Lord will be ever merciful toward you.
Sacrifice your time to engage in temple and family history work—and you’ll be blessed with divine strength against the adversary.
Study the Book of Mormon—and you’ll make better decisions every day.
I recently reread some amazing counsel from the very tender-hearted President Eyring.
“(I) urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness…You…will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done.”
President Eyring shared how he began journaling instances of God’s intervening hand.
“I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.”
So, I determined to put this to the test myself. Every day for the past week, I noted the ways—both big and small—in which the Lord intervened in my life. In other words, I tried harder to notice what the Book of Mormon and Elder Bednar describe as “tender mercies.” Said he, “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.”
Here are just a few examples from my week:
-I opened a medical bill to find the amount due was much less than I expected.
-While talking to my mom on the phone, she read me an excerpt from an article that perfectly addressed something I’d been praying about earlier that day.
-My husband’s lacrosse games got cancelled due to inclement weather, so he was able to stay home and help me take care of our sick baby. (Although my tender mercy was probably a dose of rotten luck for him.)
-I found an item that had gone missing for weeks while organizing my laundry room.
-I received a thoughtful text from a friend I hadn’t seen in a while on a day I felt a little down and lonely.
And the list goes on.
Looking back on the last week, the more I strived to gratefully remember what God had done, the more He seemed to give. President Eyring was right. I felt a bond with Heavenly Father, a closeness that had nothing to do with whether or not He answered my prayers in the way I hoped or wanted. Even if our circumstances are not ideal, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do not hesitate to show how mindful They are of us. I learned that They care not only about our spiritual well-being, but also about our temporal needs. I learned that the Godhead works in unity to create miracles in our lives.
Perhaps the greatest blessing that came to me was really knowing—really feeling—God’s unconditional love. I had undeniable evidence of that love. He blessed me with this heightened awareness of His goodness. Each day, despite the countless petitions sent heavenward, He thought of me. I was worth His time.
So even though I am horribly inconsistent with family history work and all too often I “skim” a few verses rather than study the Scriptures, I feel confident in recognizing the God’s-hand moments in my life. It’s easy to do and so deeply rewarding. My life has changed because of it. My love and gratitude for my Savior and Father have grown because of it. I am blessed—with an outpouring, so much that I don’t have room enough to receive—because of it.
I’d like to end with a few lines from the beloved hymn, “Count Your Many Blessings.” I think it applies here, except I’ve tweaked the lyrics just a bit:
“Count His tender mercies; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”