What’s Underneath

February 11, 2009 | 9 comments

“What’s Underneath” Part I:

In the little country church where I worship each Sunday, we’ve begun a Monday night Bible study with 40 women — of various denominations, ages, backgrounds. We’re digging into the Book of Esther, through a study authored by Beth Moore.

One of the most interesting facts about the Book of Esther is that is never mentions the name of God. Never. And the book doesn’t give any outright explanations of how we ought to live our lives as God-chasers. Not once.

Look deeper. Truth lies there. Underneath the surface, Esther conveys the character of God — without ever saying His name. The book reveals God’s activity in human history — without ever naming Him as the hand guiding events.

Truly, the fingerprints of God are all over the Book of Esther.

Yesterday, I met with my six journalism students at Dordt College, a Christian college in Sioux Center, Iowa. We have been studying the power of story and the depth of character. I’ve been encouraging the students to take their writing to the next level, by going deeper. And yesterday, we used the story of Esther as an example.

I’ve been encouraging the students to ask questions that get to the deeper things, rather than loosely stringing quotes and ideas together that merely touch the surface.

This doesn’t mean that our writing necessarily needs to mention God by name — though it can. It’s important, however, that we recognize the deeper spiritual things and find what’s under the surface.

There, we find the story God wrote. He loves a great story, you know. After all, He wrote a 66-chapter page-turner. And He’s written His story on billions of hearts.

***

“What’s Underneath” Part II:

With hands gripping the steering wheel — at 10 and 2 — I approached the spot marked by the towering line of leafless trees, next to an open field of harvest stubble.

A mid-February thaw had melted the snow, revealing wreckage underneath: the front bumper of a car, a long piece of steel, part of a tire. Mine or hers?

Small pieces, they were. Perhaps unnoticed by most passers-by. But enough to quicken my breath.

This wasn’t just the site of any accident — it was mine.

A blogger acquaintance of mine — who has made a career of helping people sort out this stuff — emailed to tell me this fear is natural. (Thank you, friend.)

“There’s nothing wrong with being shaken and rattled by a traumatic incident,” he wrote. “… In fact, you should be affected by them. Otherwise, there is something wrong.”

There was a certain comfort in receiving permission to feel this way. As I passed by the accident site yesterday, I found myself loosening the grip on the steering wheel — even if just a bit.

Past the pieces, toward wholeness.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. — Colossians 1:17

***

“What’s Underneath” Part III:

I peeled back the last of the bandages last week from my accident Jan. 17. The stitches have been removed, and no longer are steri-strips needed to hold the wound together.

Underneath: a perfect Y-shaped scar. A forever reminder of Yahweh — the I AM who wrote the story, holds all things together, and the El Roi who sees what’s beneath.

by | February 11, 2009 | 9 comments

9 Comments

  1. Chris Godfredsen

    Deeper. Not coincidentally, the progression of What’s Underneath dives a little deeper, too.

    Yesterday as we tooled down the blacktop toward Sioux Center and went past the spot of Kathy’s near-fatal accident the same feelings gripped her. They do every time we go that way – an accident that happened some 22 years ago (almost to the day).

    The beautiful thing is that you both have lived to tell about it – have lived to give God glory and draw others to him. For that I am eternally grateful!!!

    Reply
  2. Chris Godfredsen

    Deeper. Not coincidentally, the progression of What’s Underneath dives a little deeper, too.

    Yesterday as we tooled down the blacktop toward Sioux Center and went past the spot of Kathy’s near-fatal accident the same feelings gripped her. They do every time we go that way – an accident that happened some 22 years ago (almost to the day).

    The beautiful thing is that you both have lived to tell about it – have lived to give God glory and draw others to him. For that I am eternally grateful!!!

    Reply
  3. Deb

    February 15, 2004, my family was involved in a bad accident – van was badly damaged, precious family inside not damaged. I drive by that same spot at least once a week and just about every time I say thank you to God that it was just a damaged van. I can still hear the sound of impact in my head … it gets easier with time.

    Reply
  4. Carol

    You are such a great writer. I feel pulled into your every word. It makes my writing seem silly! Anyway, I am happy you are teaching, and happy you are getting well. Thank God for his healing! Love, Carol

    Reply
  5. Jon P

    Tomorrow will be the 21st anniversary of my Dad passing away. Every time I enter Inwood from the North I sneak a peek at the lagoon that sits on the edge of town. This is a place from which my dad never returned and my world stopped for quite some time. But through time and people that care I am able to share my life and be in relationships with people like yourself. Thanks for your entries. They make me look deeper into myself and my life.

    Reply
  6. patty

    Thank you for writing, sharing, living a real life of faith…

    Reply
  7. lynnrush

    Great post, Jennifer. I’m glad you’re on the mend.

    I still can’t believe you’re in Sioux Center, IA…where my hubby was raised and his parents still live. It’s a crazy small world.

    Blessings on you and your writing!

    Reply
  8. Billy Coffey

    I’ve always loved the book of Esther, and I think it’s because of the very reasons you state. He’s never mentioned, yet He’s everywhere. From a writing standpoint, I think it’s one of the best books of the Bible.

    I firmly believe everything that happens to us deserves a deeper look. You never know what you might find.

    Glad to know you’re doing well.

    Reply
  9. Jennie

    Jennifer,

    I’m also doing the Esther study. What week are you in? The teaching segment for session four on facing fear spoke so directly to my heart…

    Reply

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