Posted by: pmarkrobb | August 11, 2013

a permanent mark

The following brief devotional arrived in my personal email recently.  It’s only a few sentences long, but the length of its personal challenge has extended for days in my own life.  Let’s read it first, and then I’ll share where my heart was led…

A thumbprint is the only marginalia in Abraham Lincoln’s Bible.  Next to Psalm 34:4 — I sought the LORD and he answered me.  He delivered me from all my fears. — there is an indentation clearly showing that Lincoln firmly grasped this text on more than one occasion to let it sink into his bones.  That thumbprint was made by pressure and by faith.


In your Bible, next to Psalm 34:4, lightly sketch an image of a thumbprint.  Let this be your prayerful reminder of what impact trusting God for deliverance from fear might have on the world, both today, and tomorrow.

I’m a history guy, so this very personal revelation about President Lincoln resonated deeply with me.  I am also a sensory guy, so the mention of a thumbprint indentation stirred me as well.  The author’s challenge was excellent, but instead of walking away from this treasured story with a fleeting fact and a sketched thumbprint next to that verse in my Bible, I was challenged with the following two questions.

Is there even a single thumbprint indentation in my Bible(s)?


On what verse or page would it appear?

I am all about an inspiring story, but I don’t desire to imitate or live anyone else’s life.  This is not meant as a criticism of the author’s words or intent … I appreciated them both.  God made me uniquely me, and you, uniquely you.  There are countless famous and anonymous people who have lived with great character and conviction, and there is no harm in being inspired by them.  But rather than imitating and tracing your thumbprint in a place where there’s was, allow their stories and their lives to awaken, or birth something new in yours.  Here is what this story awoke in me…

I have many Bibles.  Have any of them been used to the extent that they would bear a thumbprint indentation?

Scripture is ever-present and essential in my personal journey of following Jesus.  Is there a verse, chapter or book that has “sunk into my bones,” and whose thumbprint has been “made by pressure and faith?”

Where has my life left a permanent mark?


NOTE:  The devotional noted above was distributed by the Common English Bible website.  The source post can be found at


  1. I long for His thumbprint to be made on me.

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