Sunday, November 5, 2023

Writers, What Do You See?

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.

The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?” “I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.” 

Jeremiah 1:11, 13

God initiated Jeremiah’s writing journey by speaking to him. Jeremiah practically laughed out loud with doubt, listing the reasons he could not possibly be used by God to steward words. Instead of rebuking Jeremiah for doubting, God drew nearer. Their conversation can be found in Jeremiah 1:4-10.

How kind of God to talk Jeremiah through his doubt and fear. With encouragement instead of reproach, God used the circumstances and tangible things around Jeremiah to teach him how to hear His words and share them with others. We can sense God’s gentleness and belief in Jeremiah in His first question.

What do you see, Jeremiah?

I see the branch of an almond tree.

Almond tree branches and boiling pots were the stuff of domestic life in Jeremiah’s day. Mundane. Unremarkable. Unless the One asking you to take a look at them is God.

With God, the commonplace becomes extraordinary. 

Thus began a pattern in Jeremiah’s writing life. He observed; he listened for the word of the Lord through what he saw; he obeyed by sharing the words God gave. The Lord remained by Jeremiah’s side, instructing him what to say and write for the rest of his life. Even when he was taken captive and his words were burned. 

81 times, Jeremiah states, “The word of the Lord came to me.” 

Often God’s words came to Jeremiah through what he saw.

Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, called this kind of hearing from God Figures of the True.

A figure of the true is a representation of something that is real. The phrase originates in Hebrews 9:24. Before Jesus came to earth, human priests served as figures of the true mediator who would one day stand before God’s presence on behalf of sinful humanity. And up until that time, the temple served as a figure of the true dwelling place of God. 

God uses figures of the true to teach us Truth.

He is still asking writers today, What do you see?

I see on my desk right now two glasses filled with a variety of unique writing instruments. They remind me of you, dear writers, unique and diverse. Some with fine tips for precise writing. Some with artistic, broad nibs for artful prose. Some are practical. Others are highlighters. Three are whimsical with floppy pink silk flowers. They cheer me up just to look at them. Some instruments bear permanent ink, and others strong erasers.

The truth is we are instruments on God’s writing desk, and we are diversely gifted and purposed. Each one is necessary. 

What do you see today, writer? 

The world needs your unique writer’s voice to explain what is True. Your answer to today’s question may be the writing prompt you’ve been waiting for. 

Lord, show me Truth and give me Truth words for others. Amen.


Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Audrey is the author of Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (Harvest House Publishers), an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available at favorite booksellers: BARNES & NOBLE, BOOKS A MILLION, AMAZON.


  1. Beautifully written, Audrey! To fathom the truth and put it into words should be every writer's goal -- and responsibility.

    1. Yes, Kay, I pray we are able to do that well. Thanks for reading and joining the conversation!

  2. Love this! God is so humble with us, allowing the human experience to figure truth.

    1. His love is brave, isn't it? Thanks for reading!