Daily encouragement

Video by

Noah Zuniga

ACF Devo Team

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Proverbs 12:20

Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.

Behind the Scenes

Have you ever seen the cartoon The Roadrunner? In it, there are two characters, Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. Their relationship started off as a mere race — to see who was the fastest. Time and again, Roadrunner would beat the pants off Wile E. Coyote. So much so that Wile E. got very angry and began to develop elaborate schemes to trap and, from what I remember, kill Roadrunner. Scene after scene showed the coyote’s carefully planned attempts to get the roadrunner. The funny part of the cartoon was that no matter how hard Wile E. Coyote tried, he would always inevitably end up squashed, dropped, hit, blown up, and rocketed by his own devices. All while Roadrunner would merrily run by and greet Wile E. with an infuriating “Beep Beep!”  

And while this is only a cartoon, we know that even if Wile E. Coyote had succeeded in catching Roadrunner, he still would have been an unhappy, miserable, lonely coyote in the end. Because “Though they plan evil against you, though they devise mischief, they will not succeed” (Psalm 21:1).

But what does it mean to plan peace? Does it mean sitting around all day and meditating? Does it mean beating the pants off your adversary like the roadrunner in ignorant bliss, never realizing that the enemy is actually trying to trap you? The Hebrew word here for peace is salom — meaning a completeness, a soundness, a confidence in the covenant relationship we have with God.

I love how one online commentary put it: “God’s definition of peace is very different from the world’s definition of peace. Jesus addressed this in John 14:27 when he said, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ The peace Jesus gives is not the absence of conflict. It is not about ‘peaceful circumstances.’  Rather, it is about a Spirit-empowered inner peace—a condition of heart and mind—that gives us deep calm and exceptional clarity of vision, thus allowing us to see and respond effectively to people and situations. It is about God giving us courage and calm in the midst of whatever circumstances we face.”

Make it Real

I haven’t watched The Roadrunner in a very long time, but what I remember of it, I always felt kind of sorry for both the coyote and the roadrunner. I believe that Roadrunner was simply trying to be friends with Wile E. I think he thought they were playing. Sadly, Wile E. missed this part of the relationship. He only viewed it as a competition and a rivalry. In all the images I pulled up of this cartoon, Roadrunner always has this kind of silly, playful smile while Wile E. was either looking intently evil or shockingly surprised that, once again, he had been caught in his own trap.

So, what’s the difference? They were both in the same scenes, the same situation — running around the desert in an apparently endless race. I think it goes back to focus: Roadrunner was focused on playing — which at its very heart is peaceful right? Ever seen a kid lost in playful excitement? That’s pure joy. Nothing better than to hear a little one laugh and play happily. Similarly, Roadrunner was oblivious to the fact that Coyote was trying to trick and trap him. At the same time, Coyote was focused on evil. He wasn’t looking at the relationship; he was looking at “winning.” It seems he was intent on winning at any and all costs. Time and time again, being trapped in his own schemes, he simply tried for the next best plot. Never did he stop to see what it was costing him. Never did he stop to see what he could have actually had — a loving relationship and blissful endless play — joy.

And aren’t we like that too? We stay focused, maybe not on evil, but at the very least our own pitiful circumstances, when God has something so much better in mind for us. He wants relationship. He wants peace and joy for us. Instead, we move from one plan to the next, thinking we have it perfect this time, only to be disappointed once again. All the while, God is patiently waiting, running beside us (perhaps with a silly smile on his face), wanting us to be with him, not compete with him. I realize you may not consider yourself competing with God, but when you turn away from his plans and toward your own — isn’t that what you’re doing? Aren’t you saying that you can do it better? Spoiler alert — God wins!

I challenge you to look closely at your life and see where you may be competing with God, when he’s simply asking you to be with him. Is it in your finances — determining that you know what’s best for your investments? Is in your marriage — knowing that you are right and to heck with your spouse who you know is wrong? How about in your job — vying for a better position or raise — when God has you right where he can use you best?

End in Prayer

God, we all want peace and joy. We all want that feeling of assurance that we are running this race with your hand on us. But Lord, are we trying to compete with you at the cost of that peace? Are we determining that we know what’s best for our finances, our marriages, our very lives? Lord, show us how to plan peace so that we might experience your joy. Help us to focus on you alone so we can enter into confident relationship and find joy — no matter our surroundings. In the joy-filled name of Jesus ~ AMEN!

Written by

Colleen McGeorge

ACF Groups Coordinator