19 . who

“… above all, trust Christ, and distrust self.” –Susannah Spurgeon, writing to her son Thomas*

Our culture likes to talk about self-knowledge, summoning us to personality assessments and titles to help us understand and deal kindly with ourselves.

The Bible tells us to know ourselves, too: to know that our hearts are desperately sick and deceitful above all else, that there is none who does good and never sins, that on our own and of ourselves we are nothing but hell-bent and hell-bound.

And the Bible calls us to know Christ. To know His love before the foundation of the world, His blood shed for sins, His resurrection which guarantees life to those who are His. He was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin, and so He is able to deal kindly with us.

We come to resemble what we study. The Bible doesn’t call us to study ourselves, but calls us to forsake all else for the prize of knowing Christ.

“This is eternal life: that they know … the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom [God has] sent.” John 17:3

*quoted in Susie, by Ray Rhodes, Jr., Moody Publishers, 2018.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

18 . search

The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Like a shepherd in pursuit of a lost sheep, leaving his other sheep and searching high and low until he finds it, and brings it home on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Like a woman seeking a lost coin, going into corners and under furniture with lamp and broom, until she finds it and calls all her neighbors to rejoice with her.

Like a father stepping outside the party for his returned prodigal to entreat his pouting “righteous” son to come in and celebrate too.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

17 . pause

When we met them we told them my husband was a cardiac nurse, told them to call him. But we didn’t want that phone call, the one that sent my husband sprinting across the street to do compressions on my son’s favorite neighbor.

I’ve only experienced it a couple of times: the way things stop and slow and nothing seems real and prayer is the only help I can offer.

The house across the street is dark now, my husband is driving to the hospital, and I don’t have a tidy ending, just a waiting space in which to remember this: God is God from everlasting to everlasting and His steadfast love is longer than life itself.

There’s help with no one but Him.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

16 . pray

I bought a prayer journal last month because I want to become a better prayer. I dutifully penned requests into its various categories and keep it with my Bible.

The other morning, surrounded — it’s amazing how many two can be — by small boys pulling my hair and crying and making requests and needing kisses and needing food, looking at that journal made me angry. Focused time to pray? Where is that supposed to come from, with little ones who wake long before the sun? If God wants me to pray, why doesn’t He make my babies sleep in?

I typed a text to my husband telling him ALL about how frustrated I felt. But before I could hit “send”, it hit me. The woman who has time to type complaining text messages to a husband who is at work and can’t help her certainly has time to cry out to the God who is near and able to save to the uttermost those who trust in Him.

He restores my soul.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

15 . when

You shall have a fishy in a little dishy,

You shall have a fishy when the boat comes in.

When the boat comes in. When my baby sleeps through the night and my toddler sleeps past five. When my husband finishes school. When the kids are old enough to help with housework. When we have bigger closets. When …..

Things will be easier, happier, better, when.

But because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. But those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. But his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.

And when Christ is revealed in his fullness, that will be glory indeed, so much so, that it makes a life of misery worthwhile for what we are to gain. But here I am replete with blessings.

When I set my hope in Christ, I can dig in and love my now, in all its hectic loveliness, as the gift that it is.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

14 . ask

He pointed to the candy on the restaurant counter, available from the jars for $0.25 deposited in a wooden box. I gave him a quarter, lifted him up to drop in his money, and presented him with the peppermint patty he selected. He savored it all the way home, evidenced by a chocolate-smeared mouth and fingers at the end. And we were delighted with his delight.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, Jesus asks, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him?

Today our church came together to ask God on behalf of a tiny boy with a serious heart condition. And why would we not ask this good Father for good gifts? We don’t know the outcomes, don’t have God’s long view which will show how even the pain is made good.

But we know He is good: we need not fear to ask Him.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018