The Trouble with Fingerprints.

Those who know the Lord do not put forth their own hand and bring things about.

T. Austin Sparks, On Knowing God (1930)

At the conclusion of our meeting together, the woman startled me with her words.

“Once you’ve got your fingerprints all over a matter God won’t use it.”

Rising from my chair, I cut her a glance. My heart seized a sec. In one statement, I realized my manipulative approach to force the hand of God, offering Him my brilliant suggestions, had come to an abrupt end.

Yes, He cares deeply about my circumstances. But He will accomplish the affairs of my life His way. Why? Because His way is wholly good and pure and brings Him glory…not me.

When God shaved Gideon’s men down to only three hundred men against a significantly larger Midianite camp His reason was clear:

“In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her…” Judges 7:2

After twenty-two thousand Israelites  trembled with fear and packed their bags, the Lord said, “There are still too many men.” (vs 4)

Too many fingerprints.

The tiny ridges, whorls and valley patters on the tip of my finger are completely unique, the magnificent design of God. They’re ideal for biometrics, a science that uses physical characteristics to identify a person. Oily imprints on an object identify the one whose hand was on it. 

When I offer my wrinkled, tear-stained paper to the Lord, detailing how and when I believe He should bring a matter to pass, it’s got my fingerprints all over it.

Therefore, He won’t use it.

…That I not become proud and forget Him, or announce to the world what I accomplished, what mountains my prayers moved, what heights I scaled. What my hands have done. 

Y’all, that was my idea. I made that happen! 😄

While it’s true that God instructs me to ‘always pray and not give up’ (Luke 18:1), He doesn’t need my great ideas. I’m not His critique partner.

Romans 8:28 promises, “in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” And it won’t be because He yielded to my wisdom.

In his teaching On Knowing the Lord (1930), T. Austin Sparks said,

Those who know the Lord do not put forth their own hand and bring things about.

Evidence of my fingerprints need to be found on the poor, the hurting, the despondent or imprisoned.

 

 

 

And on His own hand, mine clasped in His while we walk along the narrow road together. Ultimately, He’s the only one who knows the best way to get where we’re going.

6 Comments

  1. Martha Mullins says:

    This is a deep and thought-provoking entry. I have thought of T. Austin Sparks in many years, but I love that quote, and it surely is timely for me. Thank you!

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Thanks, Martha. In my prayers I’m learning to move more toward the intangible value of knowing God more than handling things I want Him to accomplish.

  2. Margaret says:

    So glad He knows the way we’re going. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I think I need to write this on my mirror: “I am not God’s critique partner.” Whew!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *