Photo by Daleen Keithley

A gang of hungry racoons taught me peace needs to be defended.

John and I stared at our ravaged sweet corn patch. What a mess!”

The rest of the garden was untouched, but little handprints in the mud told the tale: Raccoons had been in the corn. Their little black noses detected nearly every ripe ear which they picked, ate a few bites, then went on to savage another ear.

 “Where were you when racoons were tearing up the garden?” I asked our dog. “You could have barked or something.”

She just hung her head then slunk away to hang out with some disreputable barn cats.

John had an idea. “Let’s put the bug zapper out in the garden. Maybe the flashes of light that comes with incinerating bugs will keep the ‘coons away.”

We did. That night passed without a raccoon raid. We thought we had outsmarted them. However, after some shrewd observation, the racoons determined the bug light was all noise but no threat. They must have thought the zapper was a party light because they invited guests. The patch looked like the morning after a kegger.

Thus was the opening salvo in the war to protect our defenseless corn patch from masked pillagers. We tried one deterrent after another with dismal results.

We staked the dog in the patch on a long rope. She dug up the stake, and by following the rope trail the next morning, we discovered her cuddled up with four or five delinquent felines.

We put up an electric fence which they somehow bypassed.

We baited live traps from which they escaped after stealing the bait.

We made a “scarecoon” from John’s old clothes. He swears he heard the raccoons laughing at it before they gorged on our sweet corn.

Because I come from a long line of people who catch houseflies to release outside, I hated to use steel-jawed traps or blast the ‘coons to smithereens with a shotgun, but it was rapidly coming to that.

Suddenly, the raids ceased. The dog didn’t broker a peace accord. We didn’t wave the white flag — and the racoons sure didn’t. We assume they found something tasty closer to home and were giving it their undivided attention.

Of all of the Fruit of the Spirit, peace may be the easiest quality for Satan to destroy. He shows up in our sweetest moments bent on robbing us of joy by destroying our peace of mind with worries of end-of-civilization scenarios, by suggesting threats that can causing us to worry about the future, our children, our health, finances, alien invasions, viruses—you name it—all to destroy our peace which comes from trusting in Jesus’ leadership through this Valley of Shadows in which we live.

Loss of peace—or worry—achieves Satan’s goal of undermining our faith in Jesus.

Once we recognize Satan’s dirty fingerprints on our Spirit-given peace, we can resist his lies. Like marauding racoons, he will be persistent. But in Christ, “He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.” (Psalm 55:18)

Photo by Debi Squires