The Fingerprints of God
A year after the fact, I was writing about the death of our newborn and reflecting on some of the feelings I was still having a hard time with. Reminders of our loss came all too often as we struggled to “try again.” Sounds and sights of babies or small children brought tears, but strangely, so could the sight of a perfectly clean house. Where was the clutter of toys, or the impasse of baby paraphernalia? Where were the fingerprints? As I wrote, my newborn would have been a toddler, fingers sticky from creme-filled cookies, or from finger painting in the pudding on her highchair tray. I wanted fingerprints! Messy, even dirty fingerprints, from grubby, small-fisted hands, can shout frustration to a young mom, or they can remind her of the priceless gift of life, or lives, that God has given her. Being a grandma now and having washed many fingerprints from hoped-for clean walls, I look with joy at the fingerprints my own grandson can imprint across my sliding glass doors — or, the TV screen, the microwave door, or even the walls that adults have learned not to touch immediately after eating. Fingerprints convey a message. Someone has been here!
The Psalms pulsate with the presence of God, and vividly show His involvement in our lives. No psalm though presents more clearly His intimate involvement than Psalm 139. As we read the words of the psalmist, the truth that “Someone has been here!” resounds from one verse to the next. That “Someone” is God. It is God who knows me from the inside out. It is God’s presence that surrounds me. God formed me physically in my mother’s womb. He patterned and unleashed the DNA code that would determine who I see in the mirror each morning! And before I ever had my first breath, God was already sovereignly watching over every footstep I would ever take.
“Dusting for fingerprints” after a home break-in is a messy process, but “dusting our lives” for God’s fingerprints is both needful and intensely rewarding. His fingerprints are there – if we look for them. Psalm 63:6-8 reminds us that looking back on our lives, remembering, and meditating, brings a greater consciousness of God. As I reflect on my own life, I know that in the middle of the hard places, God can seem distant and detached, and when routines are undisturbed, there can be a smug pride in my own success. Looking back though with the advantage of hindsight, I am able to see God’s intricate involvement and the purposes He was drawing me to. I see His fingerprints, and my heart echoes the words of the songwriter, Gary Paxton, “He was there all the time.” We want to recognize God’s fingerprints, and if we “dust our lives,” we will find them. But, we don’t want to find the evidence, declare that God truly has been here, and “close the case.” In finding the evidence, we want to go, not to a court, but to a place of praise. The psalmist, David, found that place of praise many times. Do what David did. Express your thanks to God that you are covered with His indelible and incredible fingerprints!