The Understory

The Understory

As I was assisting in the 3’s class in the childcare center where I work, I listened intently as the teacher spoke of the Rainforest layers.  I was intrigued by the names of each layer of the Rainforest.  The Canopy is the uppermost layer where all the trees grow tall and form an umbrella or canopy like layer over the rest of the rainforest.  Most living things live in this layer.  The second layer is known as The Understory, and this layer receives very little light, so the leaves of the plants in this place are wider in order to absorb as much sunlight as possible as it filters down.  Most plants at this level are stunted and grow no taller than 12 feet high.They are sometimes all tangled up in each other from reaching out further and further looking for more light.The Forest floor is the final layer, and this is sparsely vegetated.  This is the place where everything that dies above, drops to the ground and decays; providing much needed nutrients to the rest of the Rainforests inhabitants.  

Now I tell you all this, because I was so struck by how similar we are to the Rainforest layers. Most people only see our Canopies, our outermost layers, where most of the activity of our lives happen.  But we all have Understories, deeper layers where some things are tangled up, and we are reaching out, seeking light for those dark places of pain and confusion.  And each of us has a forest floor, where the dead things in our lives fall to the ground and decay into nutrients for the rest of our lives.  I believe this is part of why Jesus speaks to us and says,

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

John 12:24-25

So, tread gently, dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Tread kindly as we may not know the Understories of other people’s lives. Do not be too quick to judge or think you know the “Why?” to the lives of those around you.Only God knows the reasons why we are where we are, or how to set us free at this level. The Understory of each person is a very sensitive place. God will choose the things that need to die and drop to the lower levels where He can break them down and use them to bring Glory to Himself. He “prunes” our branches so we may bear more fruit. (John 15) I have found that He is using those weak places, those things that I thought no one should be allowed to see, My faults, failures, mistakes and wounds.He is the Master of my Understory.He is the Master of yours, so trust Him to do His work in those deeper places in your life. And tread gently as you begin to see the Understories in the lives of others.


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1 Reply on

The Understory

  • This article speaks contrary to Scriptures in several ways. First, it light peddles sin in our lives that separates us from God. The article calls sin “faults, failures, mistakes and wounds.” The author also claims “we are reaching out, seeking light for those dark places of pain and confusion…” The author never cites Scripture to support her assertions.

    Contrary to what she claims, the Bible says, “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). God does not light-peddle sin by calling it a mistake or a fault. God calls it rebellion. If it were just a mistake, then Jesus would not have to die. Mistakes do not separate us from God, but sins do. Through faith in Jesus, He reconciled us to God. Reconciliation is not required for a mistake. Anyone can make a mistake. On a test, someone can choose the wrong answer. That is a mistake. Someone can mistake a horse from a donkey at a distance. I bought some sugar free ice cream by mistake, because I did not read the label. We all have faults. Someone’s reasoning can be faulty. However, sin is quite another matter.

    And yes, we can judge people for their wrong doing. That happens all the time in the courts and even in daily life. Jesus said that if your brother sins against you, go tell him. How can we know a brother’s sin if we cannot judge?

    The author again claims, “…we are reaching out, seeking light for those dark places of pain and confusion.” No we do not reach out for the light in dark places. Jesus Himself told Nicodemus, “Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil” (John 3:19). He goes on to say, “Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:20-21).

    This author falls back on the ancient heresy of Pelagianism and the modern theology of anti-Trinitarian Charles Finney. Everyone one of her claims fail the Scriptural test. She rest on human philosophy and not the authority of the word of God. She does not know the Scriptures or the gospel.

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