The Day I Lost My Fingerprints

I’ve always taken my fingerprints for granted. Sitting there quietly at the end of my fingertips, they’ve been part of me since before I was born. I don’t think they’ve ever been officially recorded, but I remember making mouse pictures with them in third grade. My index finger, pressed onto an ink pad and transferred to paper, made the perfect mouse body. Add two pointy ears and a tail, and voila! a tiny rodent. 

Who would have thought that fingernail polish remover could not only wipe enamel from my nails but also two layers of skin from my fingers? But that’s what happened. When the last vestige of color was gone from my nails, so were my fingerprints. 

I didn’t discover they were gone until I tried to unlock my iPhone. Equipped with the latest technology against phone hackers, my phone unlocks with a simple touch of one fingertip. Usually. But not today. No amount of pressing or repositioning would convince my phone to recognize my fingerprint. 

A closer examination of my fingertips revealed why. Dried and cracked from the acetone in the nail polish remover, my prints no longer resembled my own. My iPhone was convinced I was a fraud. 

“It’s me,” I said to my phone. “I promise.” But there was no convincing it. Only my pass code, another form of authentication, convinced it of my legitimacy. 

Jesus experienced a similar situation after he had risen from the dead, only it didn’t involve an iPhone. 

Appearing to his disciples the evening of his resurrection, he removed all doubt that he was, indeed, alive. Thomas, one of the twelve, was not with them. The next day, the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" 

But Thomas refused to believe. "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." 

Thomas was a lot like my iPhone. He knew something was definitely wrong. He’d seen Jesus’ trial. Perhaps watched the soldiers flog him. He’d glimpsed Jesus’ face so bludgeoned and disfigured that he was unrecognizable. Not to mention the crown of thorns. And the crucifixion. And the spear in his side. 

“This can’t be him,” he concluded. “This is nothing like the Jesus I knew. I need more proof. I will not believe.” 

So Jesus, in his mercy, provided another means of authentication – his nail-pierced hands and riven side. 

“A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 

“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ 

Ashamed, Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’" (John 20:24-27). 

If you’re struggling to believe in Jesus, it’s OK to ask for more proof. Law student Josh McDowell did when he set out to disprove the facts of the resurrection. The preponderance of the evidence led him to place his faith in Jesus Christ. His resulting book, Evidence that Demands a Verdicthas sold millions of copies. For more than 40 years he’s traveled the world defending the faith he set out to discredit. 

Atheist investigative journalist Lee Strobel also asked for more proof. Today he’s a rock-solid believer and one of the country’s foremost apologeticists, authoring books like The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith

If you’re honestly seeking God, he will reveal himself to you. He doesn’t have to. He’s God, and he answers to no man. But in his grace and mercy, he patiently yields to our feeble questions and provides the authentication we need – if we’re truly seeking to believe. 

If you’re sincerely seeking Christ, you will find him. “You will seek me and find me,” he promises in Jeremiah 29:13, when you seek me with all your heart.” 

When you find him, I pray you’ll unlock your heart and say with Thomas, “My Lord and my God.” 

And when you’ve prayed that prayer of faith, God, unlike my iPhone, will never lock you out.

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