It was a gorgeous August day, and I decided to walk down our long driveway to our mailbox. I had been expecting a parcel for a few days, and it still hadn’t arrived. I opened our mailbox and saw a lone black envelope at the back of the box with silver, shiny letters on it. I pulled it out and looked at it. YOUR INVITATION IS ENCLOSED.
It looked pretty snazzy for an invitation to something, maybe I should open it. I pulled out all the contents inside, and the first thing that caught my eye was this:
Reward yourself with unlimited possibilities.
Prestigious access at home and across the country.
The Possibilities are Infinite
Experience more of the finer things in life. Enjoy the ultimate in personal assistance anywhere, anytime with your Visa. Make reservations at the hottest new restaurants, book thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime excursions, reserve hotels and obtain event tickets worldwide- no request is too small.
Wow, doesn’t that sound amazing to you?
I have wanted to go to Hawaii for many years now. It’s on my list of dream vacations. Who wouldn’t want to have a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime excursion or reward themselves with trips and expensive restaurants! I’m not sure what I’m rewarding myself for, washing dishes, doing laundry, raising five kids???
All those slogans are very convincing, I deserve the best of the best, don’t I? Just call me Princess Cindy.
But wait, turn the sheet over… a yearly fee of $399 and interest rate of 19.99%. Nowhere was there a warning of the massive amount of debt that I could get myself into, or the stress involved after I had booked all those exciting trips, ate in those restaurants, enjoyed tickets to favorite Broadway shows, or possibly purchased cars I put on the visa.
The offer was sly and sleek. It promised me all the things that would help me climb the social ladder, but not warning me of the consequences that I might stumble upon later.
A memory resurfaced from when I was sixteen and had received an invitation from a young man to date him. I had thought he was very handsome and I had dated him for two weeks. I knew I shouldn’t have since he had a bad-boy reputation, but I was dragged in by his outward appearance, and I thought maybe he’d change his ways.
Have you ever watched the movie Grease? I was disappointed in the ending of that movie. Sandy, a sweet and innocent teenage girl, falls in love with Danny, the bad boy. They realize they are from two different worlds, with various friends and the relationship is not going well. Sandy decides, in the end, to cross over into Danny’s world and become a sexy bad-girl and tosses off her innocent ways.
Becoming a Sandy wasn’t on my bucket list, and my new boyfriend quickly figured this out. I learned there was only one reason he wanted to date me, and when I said no, he dropped me quicker than he would a porcupine. During the two weeks, I also realized he had a wandering eye, liked to drink frequently and dabble in drugs. I was a gullible, church-going girl. I thought he found me pretty and fun to hang out with. He quickly moved on to the next girl, and I was tossed out like a piece of trash.
Even though I hadn’t given in to what he wanted, I felt cheapened somehow. I had been stupid enough to fall for his charming personality and good looks. I had secretly thought maybe I could convince him to come to church, change his ways and eventually one day I could marry him.
It is one of the biggest regrets I’ve had in my life, that I had fallen for his invitation, and in the end was dropped like I didn’t matter.
I’m sure you can relate. You have probably been duped somewhere in your life by false promises: A man promised to give you the moon, and now you’re a single mom, barely able to feed your kids. A new car caught your eye with promises of moving you up the social ladder, and now you have no job, and the repo company is coming to get your shiny new purchase. Or an investment looks too good to be true, you invested and lost everything. Someone offered you a bit of marijuana at a party, it looked like fun, and now your a crack addict stealing from your grandmother, and don’t know how to break free of this deathly habit. We have all been there, no one is exempt from being duped.
I could have given into the temptation to give him what he wanted in hopes of keeping my shiny new boyfriend. Thankfully I didn’t. That young man went on to a sad life, and I went on to marry Vance, who is now the love of my life.
The master of all the tricks came by. He tricked me and tempted me with something desirable, but he didn’t warn me of the consequences. He never does. Did he whisper in my ear, “Cindy you will be miserable if you date this man.” Nope.
Years later someone said they had talked to that same man and they asked him why he broke up with me when I was a good girl. He said, “I would have ruined her.” Well, news flash: I am no different than any other person, we are all ruined by the choices we have made since birth… no one is excluded.
Are there things in your life right now that you feel you need to get rid of because they are making you miserable and you know you never should have gone after them in the first place? God wants to help you kick out that bad boyfriend, the Devil, who snared you with false promises and now has you tied up as his prisoner.
He wants to turn your life around and fill it with hope and promise. He gave us his only child. There is no sin or temptation so great that Jesus death cannot cover it. You name it, he covered it with his blood at the cross. Lying, cheating, adultery, drugs, molesting kids, rape, murder…. the list is endless. He offers forgiveness.
He already paid the cost. He will give you the strength to give up your old boyfriend. You will never regret it. It won’t be easy… but there will be joy in the end.
He’s holding out an invitation to you with your name on it. Hopefully, you will accept it… He never breaks a promise.
May your unfailing love come to me, Lord, your salvation, according to your promise. Psalm 119:41 NIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NIV
Believing and hoping