I am often reminded that the Lord is conscious of, and cares about, even the small things in our lives. Today, I was given another of those reminders.
Before I left to come to DC, I felt impressed to tell Liz that she would be working with the youth of our church. Given the fact that she would be managing the household alone, coupled with other long-standing challenges, this sounded and felt like a rather unusual piece of counsel. She has never worked extensively with the youth, and telling her she would be involved with them while I was gone seemed unnatural. However, within a month or so of my leaving, she was asked to put together a youth choir to perform at the stake conference (a regional meeting of multiple congregations).
While Liz has been extraordinarily musical her whole life, and has had vast experience participating in choirs and other performance groups, she has never been in a position to lead one. Being asked to put together a group of mostly involuntary or unexcited youth to perform in front of a large audience seemed kind of daunting. However, Liz remembered what I had felt inspired to tell her and decided to trust that this was the Lord’s hand in motion. She set aside her reservations and agreed to take on the task.
To say the least, many of the youth weren’t particularly thrilled about participating, and Liz was unsure she would have a choir to perform in the first place. After utterly failing to get anywhere near enough participation to make it work for the first several rehearsals, Liz let the Stake President know that things weren’t working, and that he probably ought to plan on an alternative musical program. However, a few pleading phone calls from the Stake President to the various youth leaders garnered enough support for the last rehearsal, and things were a go for performing at the meeting.
Last night, however, our dog decided to get sick. He was in and out all night with loose bowels, and Liz was afraid someone would have to stay home with him or else she would come home to a poop explosion all over the house. Sydney and Isaac were both supposed to be singing, and Michael was too young by far to stay home by himself and take care of the sick dog. Liz was at a loss for what to do, so she said a short prayer… The answer was rather quick and simple — Isaac and Sydney both needed to be to stake conference, and the Lord would take care of the dog.
Letting the dog out for one last urgent pit-stop before she left, she trusted the situation to the Lord, believing that things would work out. She bundled the kids into the car to head to the church hoping that her return in a little after two hours wouldn’t find her cleaning up a putrid mess.
The choir performance, by all accounts, went very well. The kids performed well, and Liz was quite happy with the result. It was quite validating, I think. She had succeeded in doing what the Lord had asked of her, in spite of the limitations and roadblocks that had sprung up along the way. However, the final and potentially most significant tender mercy came when she opened the door to the house. There was no stinky dog mess to clean up.
Now, having a dog hold his bowels for two hours might not seem like an earth-shattering experience. Many might argue that the Lord doesn’t care at all about small things like that, but in this case he made it clear that he cared, that he would take care of it, and that Liz and the kids would be able to have the experience they needed at stake conference. There are many cases where the hand of the Lord is evident in big things, and we are all to willing to accept and even expect it in those cases. However, I think it is in these kind of small tender mercies that I best get an appreciation for the infinite power, love, and condescension of God. He cares enough about the little things in my life to heal an old dog with a stomach bug so my wife and kids can perform a musical number. To me, that is a powerful reminder of the majesty and power of a personal relationship with God.