Daily D – Psalm 40:11
LORD, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. PSALM 40:11 (NLT)
In 1983, a film was released with little publicity. It almost did not get made at all. No American studio wanted it. An Australian company stepped up and made it happen. Robert Duvall was so cantankerous during the filming that the director nearly walked off the set for good. Duvall wrote and sang his own songs after driving over six hundred miles across Texas to listen to local bands perform.
Tender Mercies was a box office flop. However, Duvall won the Academy Award for Best Actor. The movie also won the Best Screenplay award and was nominated for three others, including Best Picture. It is a movie about redemption. Duvall and Tess Harper are perfect in their parts. The movie was filmed in Ellis County in Waxahachie and Palmer.
In one scene, Tess Harper is lying in bed saying her prayers. She later tells Duvall, “I say my prayers for you and when I thank the Lord for his tender mercies, you’re at the head of the list.”
The phrase tender mercies shows up nineteen times in the King James Version of the Bible, including this verse. These are the kinds of words that do not need much in the way of explanation. They are aloe on sunburned skin. They are salve on scrapes. They bear peace when they are spoken.
When Mr. Rogers instructs children and their parents in difficult seasons to look for the helpers, he is helping them focus on God’s tender mercies. When doctors and nurses from around the country and across the globe move toward those suffering from COVID-19, we see God’s tender mercies. When those doctors stop to pray inside hospitals while those ready to come on duty stand and pray outside, we see God’s tender mercies.
When a nurse in all her protective gear stands with a patient breathing his last and all alone due to quarantine, we see God’s tender mercies.
When a mother strokes her little one’s hair while he is blissfully unaware, and she looks out through her eyes with a thousand-yard stare, we see God’s tender mercies.
When we sit and wonder and pray one more prayer, we join God in providing his tender mercies to those in need of our patient waiting and God’s loving care.
It would be worth your time to watch Tender Mercies during your long hours at home. It would be worth your time to pray like Tess prays and to give God thanks for his tender mercies. It would also be worth your time to serve as you have opportunity, to give blood if you can, and to bless needy ministries with resources to help in the healing.
May we be instruments of God’s tender mercies in the fight against this unmerciful opponent.
I will pray for and administer God’s tender mercies.
Our Father, please do not hold back your tender mercies in this horrifying season. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness protect us, heal us, and give us a clear path forward. Take us and use us to bring hope and comfort to those in need. Thank you for your tender mercies. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)