John the photographer had a local business in a strip mall that looked legit. In the windows were examples of great photos that had supposedly been taken by himself or some of his employees. There were pictures from weddings where the bride and groom were so radiant. There were pictures of graduates who had confidence written all over their face. They were ready to conquer the world with fresh ideas and an armored plan that couldn’t be broken. These photographs were works of art that looked professional in every possible aspect.
The family walked into the appointment that had been arranged for their upcoming senior son to take some in house shots and would later venture out for a few more photos in the local area with great landscapes used as the backdrop.
The session went as planned and great pictures were made. John was an easy going gentleman and made the process as fun as it could be with a teenage male reluctantly posing. There were even some silly photos taken with props and a few with the young man all smiles as the process had been more appealing than he initially thought.
Shortly after the session a meeting was arranged to view the proofs from the shoot. The family decided on which pictures were to be printed and sent to all the family members or for invitations to graduation. Before long the young man’s photo would be hanging on his aunt and uncle’s refrigerator and along the walls of his grandparent’s house. His parents paid an initial deposit to start the process and were promised the pictures with in the next few weeks.
But what happened next would not be expected. A month passed and no word from John. The family called and called numerous times. Eventually, the phone wouldn’t ring at all. A message that stated “this number is no longer in service” came over the speaker. They visited the shop where some of the original shots were taken only to find that the business had been closed permanently and the building was now empty.
The family felt betrayed and were outraged that someone would seemingly try to swindle them for a lot of money.
Later the family did a little private investigation of their own and came up with an address for John. Not knowing what to expect, they traveled in a group with a loaded pistol to the property. Surprisingly this was John’s personal home and he claimed it was all a misunderstanding. But that he would have their pictures for them by the end of the week.
Eventually the family received all that they had paid for and they felt accomplished for solving the case on their own, even though it could have been a dangerous venture.
People are not always who they claim to be. The pictures in the photography store portrayed love and confidence illustrated by the snap shot frozen at that particular moment in time. Behind the scenes, the couple who had just married were concerned with how they would make it financially. Would they be able to live side by side every moment for the rest of their life? The graduate who beamed with confidence was fearful of how he would pay for college with no help from his single mother. John was a crook who had been swindling peoples’ money for many years. He would close down one shop and skip to another town before he was discovered.
People will fail you, even those that seem so genuine. If all your faith and happiness is in the people around you, you surely will be miserable from disappointment. Jeremiah 17:5, “This is what the Lord says: Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”