Near the beginning of Nephi’s record of his family’s experiences, he records: “I…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” (1 Nephi 1:20).
What are the “tender mercies of the Lord?” David A. Bednar defined them as, “The very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindness, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ (David A. Bednar, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2005).
Throughout my life I have experienced the Lord’s tender mercies. In this blog post, I reflect on just one such example in my life of the Lord’s hand in protecting me and my family.
In 1983, I had been working for U.S. Shoe for 8 years. I enjoyed my job, but I had become concerned that I didn’t have many more opportunities for advancement in the company. Therefore, I responded to an ad in the Wall Street Journal for an Assistant Treasurer position with Revco, a large drug store chain headquartered in Twinsburg, Ohio. I had several interviews with them and all indications were that they would offer me a job. But the job went unexpectedly to another person, and I was disappointed.
While I was interviewing with Revco, our first son Andrew was born. Not long after Revco turned me down, Andy was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a horrific disease for which there is no cure, and so began the most trying six months of my life, which ended in Andy’s death in June of 1984.
With Andy’s death, it became clear that not receiving a job offer from Revco was a tender mercy from God. If Revco had hired me, I would have been living and working in northeast Ohio. Kathy and our children would still have been in Cincinnati trying to sell a house and dealing with a critically ill child. It wouldn’t have worked. Most likely I would have resigned the Revco job to be with my family during this difficult time.
I can testify that a loving Heavenly Father was watching over us. In His infinite wisdom and foresight He didn’t give us the blessing we desired but the one we needed, given the challenges that were in front of us with our son, Andy. Additionally, unexpected opportunities for advancement became available at U.S. Shoe.
Eleven years later when I was U.S. Shoe’s Chief Financial Officer, I had another experience with Revco. Luxottica, an Italian eyeglass frame manufacturer, bought the company and I decided to leave and look for employment elsewhere. Not long after leaving, a headhunter contacted me about the Chief Financial Officer position at Revco. I had several interviews and everything looked like the job was mine. Yet I didn’t get the job. Again, I was disappointed; I couldn’t understand what happened because everything had looked so promising.
One morning several weeks later, Kathy came running to me with the newspaper in hand. The front page headline declared that another drug store chain was buying Revco. Apparently a dissident shareholder had forced the sale of the company so they had withdrawn my job offer rather put me in that precarious position. Again the Lord watched over us and a short time later I received an offer from KeyCorp to become their Chief Financial Officer—a much better opportunity.
Isaiah wrote, “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not: I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:13). From experience I know that this promise is true; we just need to believe the Lord when He says, “I will help thee” and move forward in faith. Sometime we won’t see the evidence of our faith until events unfold in the future. This was my Revco experience. The Lord did protect and provide for my family but I didn’t realize it until future events unfolded. I am grateful that the Lord lovingly watched out for my family. While we couldn’t always understand what was happening or why in hindsight it was clear—Heavenly Father was providing for us.
With the Psalmist, I can testify that, “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalms 145:9).