Working through my mid-morning writing session, feeling unfruitful and uninspired, I needed a bathroom break and a moment of clarity. As I rounded the corner out of the bathroom, stretching my hands high and bringing breath into my lungs, I saw it—mid-breath and mid-stretch: fingerprints, greasy, dirty fingerprints on my lovely Agreeable Gray wall.
“Logan!” I exhaled my once-cleansing breath through clenched teeth with a frustrated huff. My hands fell to my hips as I closed in on the smudged wall with a scowl.
I grabbed my phone, snapped a picture, and sent it to my 18-year-old mechanic son, who leaves fingerprints and grease wherever he goes. I have images of Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown sliding through my tidy home with dirt balls and dust clouds when I see Logan coming in from work or his favorite pastime working on his truck.
Our Grease, God’s Grace
After sending the picture with a thin-lipped, eyes-closed emoji, I get busy wiping the evidence of his hard work off my wall with some elbow grease.
Two thoughts materialize while the fingerprints vanish; I’ll miss these oil stains when my man-child moves out on his own one day, taking his zest for life, contagious smile, and loveable, messy disposition with him.
And also: I’m so thankful God doesn’t take pictures of all the greasy fingerprints my hands have left. How many messes am I responsible for that God has had to clean up? How many times have I left my greasy, messy fingerprints all over circumstances I couldn’t leave in His capable hands? He’s been busy cleaning up after me my entire life because of my “fixing” and control. Because of His mercy, I will never know how many carelessly placed fingerprints are scattered behind me. Instead of reminding me of each sin and stumble with an iPhone snap in a text, He graciously covers them.
He is a God that is forever forgiving and understanding—and so very slow to anger.
I’d have a never-ending supply of photos if God snapped a picture and sent it over with every mistake and greasy handprint I left. But thankfully, He doesn’t do this. He doesn’t keep track of my sins and shortcomings. In His mercy, He quickly wipes them away with no record keeping or evidence to show they were ever there.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him: As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children. So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:10-14
He pities and remembers our frame because he’s the one that made it. He’s well aware of our sins, but He chooses to erase each one because that’s who He is. If you’re stuck staring at a particularly greasy handprint you’ve left behind today, remember, in Jesus, you are forgiven and free. And that is the most beautiful place to be.
May we recall our greasy fingerprints only long enough to reflect on the One who wipes them all away.
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,