I want to tell you a very straight-forward story. Very simple story. This is the kind of story that happens to millions of people all over the world every day. In most ways it is entirely unremarkable. My regular readers know that my wife and I are expecting our first baby in a little less than a month. We’re basically terrified out of our minds, and super excited. Having a baby, especially your first, requires lots of new stuff. Stuff often costs money, of which I have a precious little amount. We have been very blessed by a huge number of kind friends who have provided most of what we need for our new baby.
On Sunday, my wife and I were discussing the stuff we still needed. There were a number of little things we needed to get, but one big item still loomed on the horizon: diapers. In my never ending desire to be thrifty, I hoped to use cloth diapers. And while they certainly save money over the long run, cloth diapers can be an expensive hurdle to start with, especially when you need to buy about twenty.
Monday morning, my wife got an e-mail sent out to all the Relief Society sisters in our congregation. One of the families in our ward was potty training their youngest child, and wanted to get rid of their entire collection of cloth diapers. I happily offered to take them off their hands, and our cloth diaper dilemma has been largely fixed.
Getting these cloth diapers only a few weeks before the birth of our child is certainly fortuitous. And as soon as I heard I immediately felt gratitude for what had happened. But I left it at that–gratitude. Surely there is no miracle in a woman with a three year old son wanting to get rid of cloth diapers. There was nothing supernatural about what had occurred. It was simple luck, good fortune. Could someone who strove to be intellectually honest really call a big box of cloth diapers a miracle?
In April of 2005, six months after he had been first called into the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, David A. Bednar told a similar story. When he was called to be an apostle he felt frightened, and out of place. As he prepared to get up to speak, the intermediate hymn was “Redeemer of Israel” a selection made several weeks before conference, and even before his own call as the newest apostle. This was his favorite hymn. A hymn that was “edifying and spiritually soothing.” Was this a miracle? Surely not. There are only 341 possible hymns, and the favorites are sung much more often than that. Yet Elder Bednar saw beyond the sheer numbers. And he felt the presence of God. He said:
I knew in that very moment I was experiencing a tender mercy. A loving Savior was sending me a most personal and timely message of comfort and reassurance through a hymn selected weeks previously. Some may count this experience as simply a nice coincidence, but I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence.
A few weeks ago I published an article about knowing whether or not God exists. Near the end I told of an experience where two missionaries asked me how God spoke to me. I said, “God speaks to us in the space between knowledge and disbelief. He speaks to us in a place where everyone can hear if they choose to, and where no one can hear if they choose not to.” The miracle of the cloth diapers fits right into this space. And like Elder Bednar, I’m going to choose to see the love of God in my life.