Today’s Scripture: All the paths of the LORD aremercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it isgreat. What man ishe that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. Psalms 25:10–12

When it comes to art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you watch an artist as he paints a beautiful picture, you would notice that he must work on each detail separately — a purposeful brush stroke here and there — before he can consider the picture complete.

Did you know that God is an Artist, too? His way of “painting” is much different from ours. He sees the completed picture first, and then He works out the details.

The human response to our problems and shortcomings is to try to overcome them one at a time — “If I could only start being on time for work, then I wouldn’t have any more trouble.” We feel that if we fix certain areas of our lives, then we will be “complete.” But God doesn’t just work on the problem areas that we see right now; He works on the entire person.

We are all aware of flaws in our character, but we must remember that God is the Artist, not us — He sees the completed picture, while we’re still trying to figure out how the details will work out. Understanding this truth will help us be more patient with our own shortcomings, as well as those of others.

We all know difficult people. For some of us, it’s the man or woman in the mirror. Remember that God sees the finished picture — He can take the ugly marks we have made and turn them into a beautiful work of art. Every hardship, every failure, every day — is part of His painting process. Only when you realize that God is working in your life will you begin to see the true beauty of the big picture.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder