April 3, 2017

In the gospel of John there is a story of Jesus giving sight to a blind man on a Sabbath day. The man had been blind since birth. Jesus spit into dirt, made two “salves,” and then pressed them onto the man’s eyes. He then told the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man “went and washed and came home seeing.” Jesus was gone before the man could see him, but he left fingerprints.

The man who could now see was taken to the Pharisees. They did not believe that the man had been healed; they didn’t believe he had been blind. His parents were dragged in to verify the blindness, which they did. The man who could now see wanted to know what the problem was exactly. All he knew was that he had been blind, and that now he could see. He asked about their intense questioning, and wondered aloud if they themselves wanted to see Jesus, too. They became very upset, because Jesus threatened them somehow.

Finally, the man courageously and basically said something to the effect of, “All I know is that I once was blind and now I see. I bear his fingerprints.”

In the midst of all of our grappling, scrabbling complexities, the struggles of reality, the not-knowing, the unsure insecurities of daily living, spoken or not, the shock of events, and the incessant drum beat of the threat of catastrophe, I wonder how often I forget to check for fingerprints of God’s presence. When I do so, the world keeps turning just as fast as ever, and every worry I have still exists.

However, when we look for the fingerprints, remember the “all I know is . . .” something happens inside of us. We may remain afraid, for sure, but we are not afraid alone. We can remember the evident fingerprints of God’s presence—just like the blind man who at every glance, if he remembered, would know that God had visited him, and left fingerprints to prove it. The touch of God’s presence would be with him every day for the rest of his life. We may not be able to see the actions of God’s touch, but we can see where God left fingerprints.

When we slip away from the cacophony of noise, and can hear our own breathing, we can see again fingerprints everywhere. In the hyacinths that now bloom, ushering up from the ground. They weren’t there days ago. They smell like perfume. The trees budding leaves, which were just days before stark reminders of lifelessness, now spread hope. The whispers in the wind of pine trees even tell us something. These little things aren’t even personal to us, but all I know is . . . they are here.