The idea of Satan used to be unpalatable to me.
He felt mythological, fairy tale-ish. A way to scare children.
But that was when I wasn’t such a good listener.
Since I have tried to let God be the Alpha Dog in my life, the existence of dynamic evil is something I can’t ignore. At the risk of sounding all Jonathan Edwards, I need to share this story.
I have a colleague who has been a successful realtor for 16 years. The last few months have been dry, which is normal for the market—buyers and sellers tend to hibernate for the winter—but in a smaller town with 1200 agents, those months can be long and dark and start to feel like there will never be customers again.
Like any good veteran agent, in the meantime, she has taken advantage of the classes our brokerage offers on marketing and social media and farming and what not. She could probably teach the classes, but she knows that there is always something new to learn.
So she picked a farming strategy for her favorite neighborhood and sent a letter out, introducing herself and talking about the market. Her letter was light and kind and full of experience, because that’s the kind of agent she is.
She sent out 500 letters.
This week she got one back.
It came from a man named Clint in Nevada. By his perfect cursive, I will guess he is in his 70s or 80s and at some point in his elementary years, was taught by the good sisters at a Catholic school.
I can tell you though, the only thing he learned from those sisters was handwriting.
Clint took it upon himself to copy her letter, correct it like he knew what he was talking about, and send it back to her with this charming note at the bottom:
It crushed her.
“I have great faith”, she told me in tears, “and I have prayed and prayed and asked God if this is what I should be doing and promised to follow His plan. Every time I think I’m going to do something else, I feel that I should stick with it. And then this happens. What kind of a person does this?”
The fact that her letter fell into the hands of a nasty old man in Nevada who was so bent on hurting someone that he copied the letter, corrected it and mailed it back to her in Oregon says that this is more than coincidence.
For one hard, tear-filled hour this morning, she was filled with doubt and hurt. Those feelings tried to teach her a lesson about the world, that people are mean and selfish, and she should pack it up and go home because the world is a nasty place. That also is not coincidence. That is what Clint meant her to feel.
Satan works in big ways, like despots and starving babies and chemical weapons.
But he also works all the time to steal the joy, faith and love right out of our hearts, and he uses people like Clint to do it.
Luckily, there is a large contingent of faithful women at our brokerage and one by one, after hearing the story, we said the same thing to her: “That letter is Satan trying to derail you. Don’t let him.”
She made the changes to her letter that Clint suggested.
Then she copied that sucker and sent out 100 more letters.