Daily Bread April 14

Patience and Forgiveness
Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA

Let there be no more bitter resentment or anger…and let there be no bad feeling of any kind among you. Be kind to each other, be compassionate. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:31-32 J.B. Phillips

Our daughter Ruth showed signs of being artistic from a very early age. Her natural ability, along with years of training and a great deal of perseverance, has led her to become a recognized Watercolor Fine Artist in New Mexico. I recently received her permission to share her thoughts on patience and forgiveness:

One of the most beautiful aspects of a fine work of art for me has always been the small, final details which make a painting “sing!” It’s been a difficult struggle for me through the years of my artistic growth to apply the principle of patience. I want to put the details on first-or at least, right away. I want it to reflect the vision I see in my head before putting a single brushstroke on paper! But waiting is key. Each layer has to be put on in order, with the final details last.

Applying this to forgiveness, I realize that God isn’t finished with any of us yet. We are all masterpieces in progress. Often, the “middle layers” of paint can appear awkward, or even ugly. I need to constantly look toward the potential end result and be more forgiving of imperfection and “stages of progress” for the “finishing touches” to be applied.

Even those who intentionally wound others are not currently who they may become. Someday, God may create a masterpiece, adding new growth and finishing touches to change who they are, if they are only willing to make them a part of their lives. Just as I can see the vision of a completed painting in my head, I need to forgive the flaws I see in others (and me) which will one day be painted over with added final details, and picture them as “finished” and “perfect.” I will be patient. And, while I’m waiting…I will love.

Prayer Phrase

“Every breath is a resurrection” (Gregory Orr).

Spiritual Practice

Breath of Life

Take a few moments right now to breathe. Simply observe each inhale and exhale. Pay attention to how it feels in your body. Notice the rise and fall of your chest. Notice how you breathe even when you aren’t thinking about it, how your body instinctively knows how to keep you alive without your thought or effort. In this moment, you are alive. Receive this awareness as an expression of divine grace. In joy or despair, loss or celebration, your body continues breathing. How is your breath a resurrection this day?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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