Saturday, June 17, 2017

Man's Evil = God's Good

            My company was attacked from out of nowhere. Suddenly, BAM! there it was- a shot from behind. Not only was it an attack on my company, but it was a personal attack towards me as well. I was taken aback; I didn’t quite know what to do. A few months prior to this we had a client get upset about the sitter we had assigned to her cat. She was upset that the sitter apparently threw away a plastic spoon and an avocado peeling in her trash. (Yes, that was her complaint.) She questioned whether her cat had been played with at all during the 9 days she was away, because she thought he was there eating his lunch- based off what she found in her trash. Mind you, there were other things that she found to complain about after this, but this was her main issue at first. As a company that is built on integrity and the Word of God, we took responsibility for the sitter’s oversight and this client was well compensated for her concerns. We thought that we had done what was right and that was the end of it.
Pic I took during my hike at Eno River State Park 
            Three months later she slams me and my company on Google. It could not have come at a worst time either. I was already down, struggling through some doubts, decisions and confusion within the business. Just that morning I had packed up and went hiking to clear my head, find my focus and pray for God’s wisdom and grace. That very morning, I had sat by the banks of the Eno River and asked God what was I doing wrong?
            Summertime is a very busy time of year for us. In 2016, we almost tripled our client base because of it. My sitters were overbooked and by the time September rolled around, we were all exhausted! I was hoping and praying that would be the case again this year. But it hasn’t been anything like that! In fact, it has been a slow crawl. We are still growing and getting new clients each week, but compared to last year, the numbers are way down. This weighed heavy on me so I went to the place where I focus best and I spent the day hiking, praying and resting in His Word. As soon as I got back to reality, this attack hit. I got the call from my daughter (who is my Client Relations Manager and handles all our reviews) and she read to me the horrible review. This was the very last thing my company needed!
            “But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.’” Genesis 50:19-20 ESV
            This is not the first time someone has come against me personally, and it is not the first for my company either. I have walked this road before. I’m sure we have all experienced this sort of attack before, and it won’t be the last either. The first thing I did as soon as I learned of the review was pray. Prayer is our greatest weapon, yet it is the one we rarely choose. But, since I have been in battle before, I knew prayer was what I needed. I prayed for God to give me wisdom on how to handle this situation and I prayed for Him to protect the company from the repercussions of it. Even though this horrible review was the only review we had on Google, I prayed for the Lord to not let it affect the company.
            After praying about it, my daughter and I started to reach out to our longstanding clients and asked them to post a review. We told them what had happened and they were happy to help. The good reviews started to trickle in and the bad review started to lose its power. I appealed to the clients I am friends with on Facebook, and many of them also started to post their reviews. Soon we went from one really bad review to many good reviews. The evil that was meant to harm us, was beginning to turn to our good. In a matter of hours, the Lord God used that attack and turned it into something good.
            A business is only as good as its reviews. In a world of social media, Google and mobile friendly everything, how you look on these sites determines how successful you are. Social media and Google are either your friends, or they are your foes. When people search for pet care, we want them to choose us. When you search Google for a new place to eat, if they have terrible reviews, you are not going to eat there. Most likely, you are going to search for one that has great reviews and go there instead. Any business in today’s world is as good as it’s reviews.
            For my company, however, getting Google reviews was proving to be difficult. We have 5 star reviews on Facebook, Yelp and many other social media sites, but for some reason, no one ever thought to review us on Google. In today’s world, if you want growth, Google is the place to be. Unfortunately, that bad review was the very first one!
   But God, who had encouraged me that very day to trust Him, and to keep my focus on Him, took that bad review and answered my prayer with it. Because of that bad review we now had 13 good ones, and the count continued to grow! What this past client wrote to do me and my company harm, God used it for good. Not only did I see and experience the love and support of so many friends and clients, but now have many reviews on Google! This will push us to the top of the list when potential clients search for pet care. The more reviews you have, the higher Google will push you. Through this attack to do us harm, God used it for good, and as a result, this will bring us into the homes of many people.
            I was overwhelmed by the Lord’s answer to my prayer. It was not how I had expected Him to answer it, but He did. He answered my plea for His help, and as I trusted Him and put my focus on Him, He began to orchestrate a way for us to grow. In one moment, my heart went from fearful to joyful! He turned my sorrow into laughter, and my mourning into dancing! In one moment, He reminded me of His eternal, unending, unfathomable mercy over my life.
            “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Acts 2:23
            Scripture teaches us that God our Father has a plan, a plan that was set into motion the moment He spoke light into existence. From that moment to the one you are experiencing now, God has a plan. We can only see the finite. We can only see what is temporal, what is right before us and right in front of us. But God, in His wisdom and foreknowledge is working out a greater plan of glory for you than you could ever imagine. We endure the attacks, we cry out to Him in prayer, and the Lord God answers to us and says, “Do not fear, what man has intended as evil, I the Lord, have meant it for good.” We can take comfort and find hope in all that comes against us because we have a God with a plan!
            “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28