When I studied the Old Testament in seminary, I noticed that the stories I read were intimidating and almost scary in how God dealt with people on earth. People were getting turned to salt and struck down all over the place and I was starting to feel down about the whole thing. Even after seminary ended I preferred not to read in the Old Testament, until I found what I have deemed the cutest story in the Bible.
It is found in 1 Kings 19:4-8, after Elijah has tried preaching for a long time and people were out to kill him. He ran away into the wilderness and began to pray. He told God that he was done. That he couldn’t do it anymore, that he wasn’t good enough and asked God to just let him die because he would never be enough. And instead of smiting Elijah or reprimanding him, God let him lay under the shade of a juniper tree and sleep. After a while, God sent an angel to wake him up and tell him to eat. Elijah found cake baked on the coals of a fire and water for him to drink. Then God let him sleep again. When he was awoken again by the angel, he was fed again and the food he ate gave him the strength he needed to carry on for forty days.
This story helped me recognize the tender mercies that God gives to His children. Sometimes He may seem like a huge, terrifying being who has the ability to destroy anything, when really, He is our loving Heavenly Father who knows when His child just needs a nap and a snack to keep going and keep serving. He never gives us anything we can’t handle and He is always there to help us do what He asks of us.
David A Bednar once said, “We often receive significant but subtle blessings that are not always what we expect and easily can be overlooked.” Heavenly Father is always looking out for us and our well-being, even if we don’t always notice or appreciate it. We can all work hard to be more aware and grateful for those tender mercies.