Dan Cain of Twinsburg, Ohio, went to his local post office. Like most of us, he expected to receive some letters, mailers, and probably some bills.
What he found was seventy-nine bins of mail. Each contained roughly seven hundred copies of the same letter addressed to him, 55,000 in total.
They were all from the College Avenue Student Loan Company. The company had intended to send Cain and his wife a financial statement for a student loan they had taken out for their daughter’s tuition. The company apologized and explained that a glitch in their outgoing mail system was responsible.
Compounding the mistake, Cain said, the 55,000 letters had an incorrect payment amount. The company used the wrong interest rate to calculate his payment.
Cain says the letters are now stacked in his garage. He’s not entirely sure what to do with them: “I may just start a fire, a bonfire, and burn it all,” he said, laughing.
According to the US Postal Service, the delivery of 55,000 letters “is not something we see often.” We hope not.
Three lessons for our souls
We can learn at least three lessons from this story.
One: The most mundane events can become the most unusual.
Dan Cain made a trip to the post office, something he had probably been doing for many years. He could never have predicted what was waiting for him on this day.
That’s because the past does not predict the future. The best way to prepare for a future we cannot see is to trust the God who does. He promises that “when you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2).
Corrie ten Boom was right: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Two: Secret sin never stays secret.
The College Avenue Student Loan Company sent a private letter to a private individual, but their mistake soon became national news. Whether the world saw their error or not, God did: “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
What sins do you think you are hiding today?
Three: Sin always affects more than the sinner.
The loan company’s mistaken letters caused their innocent recipient a good deal of inconvenience. Their error illustrates the fact that sin never stays with the sinner. Pharaoh’s hardened heart cost the devastation of his nation; David’s sin with Bathsheba cost them the life of their firstborn child.
The good news is that our Father forgives all we confess and redeems all he allows. Like the College Avenue Student Loan Company, if we will admit our failures and seek to make amends, we can know that he will hear our prayer and guide our response.
What mistakes do you need to trust to his grace today?