My Father's Handprints

Following my father's death earlier this year, family and friends found themselves reflecting on his life. My own memories were stirred when I took a walk through my parents' former farm on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada. For about twenty years, this property had been their retirement hobby farm.

The present owners invited me to take a stroll around, and I saw evidence of my dad's handprints everywhere: the cedar rail fences he restored, the gates he opened, the log barns he tended, the stone path he constructed, the centennial tree he planted, the acreage he reforested, and so forth. Everywhere I looked, everything I saw, my dad's hands had touched. I felt myself surrounded by my dad's handprints. It was exhilarating! I was in the centre of what had been my dad's world for twenty years. Yet deeper joy awaited me:

The new owners were learning a lot about my dad without being told by anyone. They saw that he liked to collect "junk" and transform it into useful tools (like a log splitter), creative displays, or unexplainable contraptions. They could see that dad was thrifty, creative, versatile, and skilled. The couple had noticed the door latches: "No two are alike," they remarked. "Your dad would design a tool for any purpose he had in mind," the wife said.

This couple was discovering secret handprints which no one else will ever know not even dad's own family members. What a privilege!

My joy swelled even more as I listened to the owners share their vision for the property. I found myself repeatedly interrupting them: "That's exactly what dad would have wanted!" These two people, like dad, are versatile in skill, practicality, and creativity. As retired farm animal veterinarians, they are using the property for raising alpaca. They plan to spin and weave the fleece. They'll have beehives too.

Words cannot express my delight in seeing how my dad's labour in his retirement years will continue to bear fruit. My dad had unknowingly preserved and prepared the property for those who would perpetuate his vision and safeguard the land's rustic, quiet beauty.

This reminds me of my heavenly Father. His handprints are everywhere:

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. (NKJV)

Psalm 8:3-5 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honour. (NKJV)

Yes, His handprints are everywhere not just in nature, but in history and in our daily lives. If we do not notice them, it's not because they are hard to see, but because our focus is elsewhere. Like the present owners on my father's farm, we will notice our Father's handprints best if we ourselves have embraced His vision for humanity and we live in it and walk in it. Then we'll see our Father's glorious handprints everywhere! We'll know profound joy, even in times of grief and loss! And just like those new owners, we'll perpetuate the vision through the prints of our own hands.

Do you want exhilarating joy? Then resolve to centre your affection on the vision of God which is His covenant plan and your spiritual eyes will see the Father's handprints everywhere.

May this be your prayer: Lord, work in my life till I am fully committed to Your plan of love for us. May I find invigorating joy through seeing evidence of Your handprints everywhere beside me and within me, behind me and before me, beneath me and above me. Amen.

Diane Eaton
Kincardine, Ontario, Canada

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