Babel: on obedience


Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Gen. 11:1-4)

Within memory of some of those still alive, God had destroyed the entire earth with a flood, saving only one faithful man and his family, because “every intention of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). After an entire calendar year shut up in a boat full of animals while every other living creature on earth was destroyed, Noah and his family emerged onto dry land and received the Lord’s blessing: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1).

Fill. The. Earth.

So Noah’s children had children who had children who had children, who migrated to Shinar and settled there and built a city and a tower, and I’ve always understood their sin to be in the effort to touch heaven with their tower. But why were they stretching to such great heights? Ah. “Lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

God said, “Fill the earth.”

People said, “We don’t want to.”

(Because they were comfortable and with their favorite people had all the needful supplies and were doing good work there?)

You can see it in God’s answer to this problem: “there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth” (Gen. 11:9).

We’re reading Genesis together as a family, and I wasn’t expecting the Lord to deal out conviction through the story of the glory-hungry builders of Babel. (I, after all, have no ego-driven construction dreams.) But He convicted me anyway.

Because that command to Noah to fill the earth? Well, the earth is physically full, yes, but Christ transposed it to the spiritual realm for us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . .” (Matt. 28:19). Fill the earth with Christ-followers.

And my answer, more often than not, is “I don’t want to.”

(Because I’m comfortable and with my favorite people and have all needful supplies and can do good work here?)

And it isn’t necessarily that He’s called me to go anywhere but where I am, but is my heart ready to obey if He does issue that call? And am I here to make disciples, whether here is my comfy house in America or somewhere less comfortable on the other side of the world?

To see myself in the story of Babel was never my ambition. But I’ve seen myself there now. And I pray for grace to leave off my futile tower-building on earth and seek “the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:16).


©2018 by Stacy Crouch


Five Minute Friday: expect

Version 2

We’ve been “expecting” for six months now, a euphemism which I find doesn’t quite catch the truth of it.

Early in the pregnancy, if I’m honest, my expectations were different — my husband and I both acknowledge, now, that we didn’t expect to make it this far; we expected — for a myriad of reasons — to lose the baby.

A lot could happen in the next three months, and I cannot presume to know, but now I expect that in late August I’ll be holding a wiggling, crying little boy.

Even so, to say we’re “expecting a baby” is a misnomer. We don’t expect him. We have him — something like two pounds of him, every inch a baby right now. A baby whose kicks and tumbles we treasure. A baby to whom we already talk and sing. He isn’t born yet, but he’s not merely expected. He exists.

It’s easy to expect what looks like the worst from God — to expect that He’ll give the harder thing, say “no” to the dream, make us walk through pain. And often He does.

But we have His promise — the promise of the God who cannot lie — that He is doing the best things, even through the hard.

His promises are not just for some abstract future. We have them now. We who are in Christ do not just expect to receive eternal life one day, in Christ we already have it, as surely as I already have a son. Not fully enjoyed yet, but fully, completely ours.


Linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday — and taking longer than five minutes, there was a phone call in the middle — today to write on her prompt “expect.” The pink button above takes you to her site.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch



Five Minute Friday: easy

All night long it was the sound of the rain from the eaves, and still this morning it falls, steady and deliberate, on the million leaves that have supplanted the pollen of two weeks ago, on the birds feeding out back, onto puddles where it bubbles and disappears.

And this is easy, to sit and watch the rain, and it falls soothingly on my soul that had felt grimed and heavy with hurts and worries not mine, that I can’t help carry, but that I wear in spite of that.

On the bank beside the driveway, the roots of trees which had been clinging there past all probability gave way under rain earlier this week, and I think of that: how tree roots need to go deep, to be well-buried, how their roots penetrate concrete and disrupt plumbing, and how the rooting process must not be easy. But the deep-rooted trees don’t fall down.

Their roots go deepest when the season is dry and the surface-roots grow parched and things are not easy. And I watch hurting ones around me digging down deep through their dry seasons, and I rejoice to see them bearing fruit.

And I rejoice that the Father who sends this rain can also heal all these wounds. For Him, that is easy.

easyToday I link up with Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday writers to write on her prompt, easy. The “easy” button above will take you to her site to learn more about it and read others’ posts.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch


love: small and glad, day 7

This sixth-floor waiting room has wide windows, overlooking the city, which from up here has more trees than buildings, by far. In the far distance, a buzzard wheels and rides an updraft, and in the foreground, there’s a butterfly riding another updraft, up at what seems to me a dizzy distance for a butterfly, that fragile patron of herbaceous borders and flowering shrubs.


I walked yesterday morning with my camera — because my camera makes me go more slowly and look at the light on things more than I would walking empty-handed — and going slowly I saw how the world was just drenched in glory, and I was glad.

On the other side of the world, children are growing up in war zones and a hospital was destroyed by what ought to have been friendly fire. Nearer home, people grieve school shootings, and babies are parted out for profit, and sin so blinds that the glory becomes invisible.

And I can see where the questions come from: what kind of a love is it, that paints the leaves on a billion trees, gifts the butterfly and buzzard equal buoyancy, and lets bombs burn sick people in their beds, lets babies be torn limb from limb?

What kind of a love is this?

What kind of a love lets guilty ones walk through glory-drenched October mornings? What kind of a love gives His perfect Son for the profit of ungrateful murderers? What kind of a love offers thieves the inheritance of a King?

This is the Love who wore our sins and drenched the ground with His own innocent blood and exalted Himself to redeem our ruins. This is the Love who will be the death of Death itself, who will banish mourning and crying and pain.

He crowns small ones with steadfast love and mercy and fills us with gladness in His presence.

This is the Love.

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©2015 by Stacy Nott

possible: small and glad, day 6

“I dwell in Possibility — / A fairer House than Prose,” quoth Emily Dickinson.

I always stop and look at that juxtaposition: possibility vs. prose. Not poetry vs. prose, nor yet again possibility vs. certainty — negative or positive certainty.

I suspect Dickinson wanted me to look at it. To think that somehow she means poetry and possibility are the same — that in poetry, things are possible which in prose are not. Possibility has more windows and superior doors, she goes on to say, and I wonder about this.


Poetry is tight, limiting in some ways. And yet it escapes the usual rules of punctuation and syntax and even parallelism. In poetry, you may behave as though “possibility” and “prose” are two of the same sort of thing — which they aren’t — and moreover behave as though the things which both of them are are houses in which one may dwell. In prose, such behavior is nonsensical. And if we’re picking which house to inhabit, possibility or prose, I’m going to pick possibility every time.

Moreover, I think that’s where I do live.

I live in the King’s not-of-this-world kingdom. The kingdom into which entrance is as simple as fitting an ordinary camel through an ordinary needle’s eye.

“Who then can be saved?” the astonished disciples asked. But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:24-26)

In prose terms — dealing with facts and human reality as we know it — no one gets in. But by the grace of God, all things are possible, and through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (Romans 5:19).

But Dickinson is wrong about possibility in this one thing: she said “doors,” but there’s only one door here, Jesus Christ, who says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and find pasture” — pasture in possibility! — and who also says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 10:9, 14:6).

Nonetheless, this one Door is superior. Christ is the door who came to seek and save us — not a door waiting to be found (Luke 19:10). He is the door who comes knocking — inviting us into fellowship with Him (Rev. 3:20).

Come, camel, in through this needle’s eye, and find pasture. In the Father’s fair house, be small and glad with me.

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©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: celebrate

An apt word, this weekend, as it’s a celebrating weekend: a wedding shower tomorrow, my first official event as bride-to-be.


There are all kinds of good reasons to celebrate weddings, but there are a few things we keep in view in the midst of the celebration:

  1. Marriage isn’t eternal: it’s lifelong, Lord willing, but it’s a pre-glorification institution.
  2. Marriage isn’t about marriage: it points to a post-glorification reality, Christ and His church. That’s not an accident; God created it to do that.

With these things in view, I came across 2 Corinthians 3:11 this week: “For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.” In this passage, Paul is talking about how the law — “what was being brought to an end” — is a type and a shadow pointing to righteousness in Christ — “what is permanent.” But it also applies to marriage, another thing which is being brought to an end, to be supplanted by something permanent.

Oh, and we do celebrate marriage, and it comes with glory, and I am astounded to think, if this shadow is this glorious, how glorious our forever-union with Christ is going to be.

Cause to celebrate? Yes.


Linking up with Kate Motaung for her Five Minute Friday prompt, celebrate. (And, astonishingly, on Friday!) Click the “celebrate” button above to visit her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday (on Saturday): here


Here we have no lasting city.

It’s easy to see it in some ways: the paint that chips and crumbles around the window frames, the deep grooves in the wooden floors, the bricks of the street outside the window wavy from the duress of freeze-and-thaw, freeze-and-thaw.

We seek the city that is to come. The city not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The city whose builder and maker is God.

But we’re here. We who are seeking a homeland live here, and we’re supposed to live here, we’ve been called to live here.

I wobble as I try to walk this line: home, but not home; a citizen of a country I’ve never seen, a country beyond imagining.

But I have a promise: my steps may wobble, but I “shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds [my] hand.”

Here, and forevermore.


Today I link up with Kate Motaung for her Five Minute Friday prompt, “here.” The button above leads to her page, where you can find instructions on how to join and read other linked posts on the same topic.

©2015 by Stacy Nott