on what lurks in the dark

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

I got mail today from a place I have never heard of.  The logo on the outside of the envelope said “Great Plains Lending” and inside was the usual predatory BS that comes from those kind of places.  Just go to our website, fill out a bit of info and – presto! – you can have some cash as early as tomorrow, the enclosed information promised. 

I gave the contents of that envelope the usual respectful treatment I hand out to any and all mail from finance companies or credit card proffers – that is, I tore it to shreds while making general comments to the air around me about douchebags who should leave me alone (and yes, if you’re wondering, I DO feel convicted about calling people unpleasant names, but that conviction is thus far overcome by my pleasure in having not fallen for their tricks and schemes.) 

I can’t help but notice that these opportunists are loudest and most persistent when I am really picking up and improving in my habits.  Fix a financial problem, and you can just about guarantee that they’ll come skulking around with slick offers for fast cash, with very little emphasis on the fact that they plan to rob you blind on the interest rate for said convenience. 

It reminds me of one of the most heartbreaking clients I ever worked with, at one of the shelters where I served.  She was smart, funny, sweet, giving.  A peacemaker who could turn a room full of combative women into cooperative buddies.  A hard worker. 

And an addict.

She’d get clean for awhile.  Work hard at her job, help the other shelter ladies out, spread smiles and laughter everywhere she went. 

But her dealer somehow had a 6th sense about her.  He knew where to wait, how to catch her off-guard.  She’d be walking along in the happy zone one moment, and strung out on crack, disappearing for days, the next. 

She was the first client whose funeral I ever dreamed of in anticipatory dread.  Eventually she crossed the line too many times and couldn’t be let back into the shelter.  I have no idea today whether she is alive or dead. 

Every time I remember her, I remember that damned opportunistic dealer.  How he knew her patterns, knew her favorite places, knew how to knock her off balance.  Every.  Single.  Time. 

Darkness waits in a thousand ways to steal, kill, and destroy in our lives.  Maybe it’s the finance company, hoping to catch me on a weak-willed day and enslave me with their 29% interest.  Perhaps it’s that lady’s dealer, waiting outside the grocery store with crack in his pocket and beguiling words on his lips.  I’d start citing other examples, but soon enough I’d be tromping on someone personally, and that’s never my aim here. 

Today’s word of caution:  if you’re starting to get your act together…if things are beginning to go right…if you almost are able to hope that you might be reaching the other side…be aware:  darkness awaits, ready to extend the most beguiling offer in your weakest moment. 

And be encouraged:  Someone much bigger than darkness waits, too.  Ready to meet you in your willingness.  Waits for you to choose Him, to flee darkness.  I took the first step today, like I always do, when I get those “go back to financial slavery” invitations:  I ripped that sucker to shreds.  I don’t need the solutions of darkness.  I’ve got something…someONE…much better than all that. 

May you reach for Him, when darkness reaches for you. 

  1. Stacy says:

    Karen, thank you for this. We go through life being told what we should do or how we are supposed to live. But when something tempting comes up, I kind of scramble. How do I resist? I always feel like I don’t have it in me to say no. THANK YOU for pointing out that it’s not just about me, but something darker. THANK YOU for pointing out that I can choose HIM. THANK YOU for the encouragement that there is something BIGGER than the darkness, my sweet Jesus.

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