For the past six months, I have encountered the number 66 on almost a daily basis. Initially, I was scared that it meant something terrible was going to happen to me or to my family because the number 666 is associated with evil. But I calmed my initial fears, stopped living in my head, and began paying attention.
Without fail, the number continued to reveal itself in my life. My cell phone battery would continually stay at 66 percent. The exact change or amount due would be 66 cents. On one occasion, I was traveling to speak and I saw the number three times in a two-hour window. Most recently, I missed a bonus at work when I fell one policy short of a moving production target. The goal ended up being 67.
The number has come up so frequently and so ironically that I can’t mistake the feeling that God is trying to tell me something. I began praying about it and I asked God to reveal to my heart what it all meant. Was God trying to speak to me? If so, what was He trying to say?
Angel Numbers and Following Your Call
Over months of quiet reflection and study, I came to learn that what I was experiencing is often referred to as an “Angel Number.” In numerology, this is how the universe communicates with you. Now, there are some who read that and immediately yell, “Bunk.” But I believe that if you look through the veneer of mysticism and numerology, there is a truth that God does speak to people. I began processing those thoughts and feelings through a lens of faith, listening to what God placed on my heart.
Curiously, the number 66 has Biblical significance—there are exactly 66 books in the Bible. As I continued to study and pray, God’s voice was loud and clear. Every time I would ask Him and every time I would see the number 66, it was coupled with an intense calling for me to teach His Word.
As if he was saying, “Matt, step into your calling. You are a pastor.”
After a repetitive, gracious battering, I was slowly learning. I can’t escape God’s call and I can’t run from His truth. A man can live in a dark cave and declare there is no sun, but that man cannot stop the sun from shining. It’s only when he’s willing to make his way out of the cave that he experiences the warmth and glory and goodness of light.
If God exchanged the riches of heaven for the straw poverty of a manger to meet us in our own poverty, then why wouldn’t we exchange our life to follow where He leads?
I Am Going to Be Baptized
I was baptized as an infant in the Methodist church and then confirmed when I was 13-years old. But for two years now, as a byproduct of this wrestling, I have felt a desire to be baptized again. As God’s gentle reminders have culminated with a call to teach His word, that time has finally come.
Next weekend, I am going to be baptized.
Some might question this desire to be baptized from a theological perspective or from the doctrine of their own denomination, but that’s not what this is about. This baptism isn’t a profession of faith or adherence to a set of rules, it’s a declaration of my new life.
When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, He clearly already believed in God. He was a thirty-year-old man. This wasn’t a profession of faith, it was a declaration of His ministry.
The Abundance of God
In Psalm 66, the Psalmist writes:
“For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing blow on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads:
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”
Too often we view the trials and testing and burdens of life as something without purpose. But God’s wrestling doesn’t end in defeat. The Psalmist reminds us that the byproduct of those circumstances is always the abundance of God. When we persist through the wilderness, we come to a place of abundance. God’s abundance follows our persistence.
One of my favorite narratives in God’s story is the Exodus—the deliverance of His people from captivity. As I read it recently, something different jumped out at me. Just as the Israelites get to the shores of the Red Sea, with the heat of Pharaoh’s army bearing down, something incredible happens.
“Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.” —Exodus 14:19
The abundance of God came behind His people, but only after they had persisted to follow where He led. It was the persistence and faith of Moses that brought them to this place of impasse. And in that place, they witnessed the abundance of God.
The past four years have been my season of wrestling. And here I stand waiting on the abundance of God.
Where the Lord Leads, There is No Risk
My dear friend and mentor, Kevin Adams, has taught me that there is no risk in following God. None. You will be ridiculed and people will not understand or agree with you. But those opinions always fall short of the purpose and calling and abundance of God.
Not all of us are not called to be pastors or evangelists, but we are all called to pastor and evangelize the good news of the gospel. And we don’t evangelize with clever words and spot-on theology, we evangelize by becoming God’s expression in the world. We were created to leave God’s fingerprints on the world through our own. We need teachers and engineers and entrepreneurs and janitors and politicians and attorneys and salesmen who are willing to leverage their lives and their gifts for the kingdom of God instead for their own earthly gain.
I began this journey to discover what richness and wholeness in life are really about. My friends, richness and wholeness are found in the character and provision of God. It is that character and goodness and love that I will speak of.
If you would like to be involved, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.youprint.life to learn more.