“And they were glorifying God in me.”
“Strengthen our conviction that Thy hand is upon us, to lead us and to use us in working out Thy purposes in the world.” (Marshal, Peter; “The Prayers of Peter Marshal,” pg. 160)
By Reverend Ray
We are all aware of the unique identifying qualities that fingerprints provide. No two sets are exactly alike and they are so distinctive that there is virtually no possibility of duplicating or counterfeiting them. They are the one identity feature that is impossible to deny. Every hand that possesses a finger or thumb has that person’s identification etched upon them by God. There is nothing that we touch that is not left with those identity marks that bear undisputed evidence that we were there.
On the other hand, when we speak of God acting in our lives or His providence in our lives, we might say His hand was/is upon my life. Shouldn’t we expect God’s hand to leave the unique distinctive of His fingerprints upon our lives? Here I am not so much speaking of what we know about God’s working in our lives experientially as I am saying that wherever God has touched something, shouldn’t there be those unique, distinct markings that indisputably bear the evidence that God has gripped this life. As we read the first chapter of Galatians we find Paul unfolding his life and testimony before the church. As he tracks through the events and experiences that shaped his testimony, it is though he bookends this chapter with the fingerprints of God upon his life. He says in the opening; “Not sent through men not through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father…” and then closes with the verse in consideration; “And they were glorifying God in me.” Paul’s life was marked by God’s fingerprints all over, so that when his contemporaries stopped to consider this life they could not dispute that God had a grip on Paul’s life and He was happy to put His finger prints all over it.
Years ago, I remember pouring myself a glass of milk to accompany some fresh chocolate chip cookies my wife had made. I had to leave the room for a minute to address something and left the glass of milk setting on the table. When I returned, I found that about half the milk had been drunk and the glass was covered with chocolate and cookie crumbs along with fingerprints from the guilty party. Obviously, it didn’t take long to discover the criminal in this case as being one of the boys, but there was no mistaking that there was activity around the glass by someone who bore those fingerprints.
In our world of contemporary Christianity, it seems things have become a little less obvious and definitive. What is said to be the hand of God doesn’t seem to bare those indisputable markings that say; “God is here.” For Paul, what had been a burning fire in his life was the defense and protection of his beloved Judaism until the God who is a consuming fire reached down with His hand and snuffed out that fire while at the same time striking a new fire in his heart that produced a life that reflected the uncontested evidence that God’s hand had a grip on Paul’s life.
The one thing that was overwhelmingly evident about Paul in the eyes of those who viewed him after the road to Damascus experience was that the fingerprints of God covered this life and testimony. It was not of man or by the agency of man, but God and therefore they glorified God in Paul. The hard question we need to ask ourselves is whose fingerprints are smeared all over our lives? And if they are indeed God’s, there should be somebody somewhere caused to glorify God in us.