My Father's Handprints

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Lord Of All Being Throned Afar"1 (Lyrics)

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.

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Touching and challenging Diane.

    What a rich and beautiful, meaningful devotion. Thank you.

    Beautiful memories made a beautiful devotional Diane, Thank you. My condolences in your father’s passing. Your writing is another of the “handprints” he has given this world.

    Dear Diane; Thank you for today’s message. Not only was it an enjoyable read but PRAISE GOD it became a teaching moment for me. I thank God for you, your family and the gift of ministry that God has given you in your writing.

    Thank you for a wonderful devotional. I also can go to the homestead in northern B.C. and see my parents handiwork. Their log house is still lived in and as good as the day it was built and other buildings. I go down memory lane and revisit my childhood days. God bless you.

    Dear Diane;
    Such a lovely devotional, especially because I visit Manitoulin Island every year. It is such a beautiful, serene place. I am sorry to hear about your Father’s passing and at the same time, what a wonderful legacy he is leaving behind. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

    Dear Diane,
    This reminded me of the nailprints in Jesus’ hands.
    Your father’s work is seen in the prints of his hands.
    Our Father’s Work is seen in the prints of his hands.
    God’s Son’s Work is seen in the prints IN His hands.
    We can pass on his prints with our hands and hearts of empathy.
    Keep writing,

    Good morning, Diane
    What a wonderful devotional! And what a great tribute to your Dad’s memory — that the current property owners saw and well-understood his true nature and appreciated it! Being invited to wander about the farm, see where your Dad’s hands had done their handiwork, must have been such a privilege for you.
    My late Dad wasn’t a farmer but an OPP and I know how I feel inside when I handle ‎his hat badge knowing the care he would take polishing the brass of the buttons, etc. since officers were expected to always look their best at the start of the shift — buttons, badges, shoes all polished. He was proud of being an OPP so the polishing was never a chore. And after retiring, he took the same care polishing his leather shoes. I loved watching as he applied the black shoe polish, and listening to the rhythmic buffing of the brush. He was so happy to teach me how to properly polish my own leather shoes so I’d care for mine as he cared for his.
    And since his return home to God, I have been blessed with hearing various stories of his time on the OPP, how well-liked he was, and what an excellent and fair officer he was — as viewed by his peers and the public alike. And when I say I still have his hat badge (polished of course), people think it’s wonderful and how pleased my Dad would be if he knew that it, and a photo of him the first day he got his uniform (taken at his parents’ home by his sister) are such treasures to me.
    God blesses us in many ways — with the talents He gives each of us‎ (as it says in Romans 12:6-8), as well as the people who come into our lives, both as friends and family.
    Do continue to write!
    God bless!

    As my outward vision narrows, I find my inward vision focusing on God’s handprint (influence) more markedly prominent in my mind. How gracious He is in my life and the lives of others! What insights He gives to those who seek to see! Great post. Thank you.

    Thank you, Diane: I love to be on Manitoulin Island — and have only been 3 times. Wonderful memories!
    My Dad was a carpenter and the creative type you speak of your Dad being – fulfilled lives!
    Thanks for the memories and meditation.

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