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You Really Don't Want the Booby Prize!

God‘s word is living and active. God also has a sense of humor. These two truths were driven home to me one day when my sister and I were vacationing in Death Valley. (That may sound like a weird place to vacation, but we wanted to see a desert!)

While on vacation, I was reading the book of Proverbs using Eugene Peterson’s translation called The Message. The Message is a highly idiomatic translation of the Bible. One morning, I read Proverbs 3:35, which appears in The Message as:

“Wise living gets rewarded with honor; stupid living gets the booby prize.”

This translation cracked me up… the use of the phrase “booby prize” just tickled my funny bone.

Fast forward to a few hours later. My sister and I were hiking in Mosaic Canyon. Mosaic Canyon has stunning marbleized rock formations: they are smooth to the touch, and twist and turn to show the path of past water courses.

I had climbed up the smooth rock of the canyon with the intention of getting to a vantage point above the main path. However, to get there, I would have to traverse an extremely narrow ledge of rock. With my entire focus trained on my goal, I thought to myself, “It’s just a step or two – I can do this.”

It was at that point that the verse from Proverbs came clearly to mind: “Wise living gets rewarded with honor; stupid living gets the booby prize.”

I stopped. I looked down. I was far enough from the ground that a fall could easily result in a broken ankle. The rock was polished smooth and the place where I wanted to plant my foot wasn’t really a ledge… it was barely even an edge.

I turned around and carefully descended back to the path. To this day, I am convinced that God preserved me from a broken ankle by asking me if I really wanted to be awarded the booby prize!

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