Christian Neal, Stonepoint Member
It started when I was on my way to Journey Group. It was Thursday evening. My Journey Group leaders, Welcome and Debbie Edwards, pulled up toward my house like they did every Thursday evening after 5:30pm. Debbie always stepped out of the car with a smile, hugged me and sat herself in the back seat to give me more leg room. (I’m without a car right now, so it’s been super helpful that my JG leaders have given me a ride to and from our group meeting Thursday nights.) In the front seat, I’d always sit back and let Welcome badger me with insults. I’ve learned to take them by now, and I give them right back. (Well, maybe “insults” is a strong word here. Welcome and I have real conversation, too, I promise.)
Driving down FM 47 to the building, I glance over at the car’s digital dashboard. I only half-listened to whatever Welcome was saying at the time as my eyes read the numbers on the little screen above the gear shift. (Fancy cars these days. They tell you the time and the temperature outside and everything.) It was 5:55pm and 55 degrees outside. Interesting.
I didn’t think much about that. Until the next Journey Group on Thursday night, the night played out again. The Edwards pull up to my driveway, Debbie gets out—you get the idea. And driving down FM 47 once again to the church, the digital dashboard reads: 5:55pm and 55 degrees outside.
‘Maybe their car’s thermostat is broken,’ I wonder. But it wasn’t. The following days it would show anywhere from the thirties to the seventies. (That’s Texas weather for you.)
But, oddly enough, it didn’t stop there.
Days later, some friends and I attended a concert, and on our way home, we stopped at a fast-food restaurant to eat a meal. I’m not really sure why, but a friend of mine raised her arm, pointing to the menu over our heads and told me, “Oh look! They have a deal on three sliders for $5.55!”
Then I go to order a fried chicken sandwich and two scoops of ice cream, and my total rings out to be $5.50 exactly. Talk about weird.
This pattern continued. I heard someone share their testimony and they lived 55 years before God changed their lives. Someone gave me a business card, and the phone number on the card literally had five 5’s in the 8-digit cell number. And it just keeps happening like that. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
So, what’s the point in me telling you all this? What is the significance of the number 55? To be honest, I’m not completely sure. Maybe God will give me a huge revelation using this number—I just haven’t seen it yet. But, I did find something that maybe ties this all together. Maybe this is the reason I saw 55, maybe not. Maybe I’m waiting in vain for some grandiose thing to be revealed, when in reality, God just wanted to show me this seemingly small thing.
I work at a ministry, and I regularly receive updates about different regions where missionaries are working. Now, for security reasons I can’t say what region it’s from, but I found a report sitting in my mailbox just a few weeks ago. I get quite a few of them, and to be honest, I don’t read many of them. But this time I happened to open up the newsletter update.
I unfolded the page and quickly scanned through the stories. I wish my heart were more moved by these stories from the field, but somehow I find myself feeling somewhat detached.
But then, in a left column, you’ll never guess what number I saw. (If you guessed 82, you’re wrong.) The number 55. But this time, the number was more significant. It was the number of people who came to know Jesus in this one region in three months’ time.
Honestly, I feel like this number hasn’t really sunk into my heart yet. 55 people who gave their hearts to Jesus in just a few months. And somehow, working at the U.S. office of this ministry in the middle-of-nowhere Texas, I took part in helping them follow Christ.
It’s funny. Now, when I see the number 55, sometimes I remember those people who are walking with Jesus now. But, more often than not, I’m starting to get annoyed at the number 55. (Just being honest.) I’m pretty tired of seeing the 55mph speed-limit sign on 2965 every time I drive home (in a borrowed car, no less. Still don’t have a vehicle yet). And it seems like so often I’ll look down at my phone to check the time, and it’ll be 11:55am, 2:55pm, 6:55pm, and so on.
But I wonder how those 55 believers are doing. It’s very likely some are still overcoming sinful patterns like alcoholism, lust, and pride. I hope God helps me make room in my heart to pray for new believers and unbelievers in some of the most difficult places in the world. And somehow, through my prayers, God is doing miracles across nations, bringing people to Himself.
I know in my own story, it’s a miracle I am walking with Jesus and beginning to become more like Him. It’s such a journey, and it seems the more I go down this road, the more I find out about myself, the more I realize how wretched I am and how much I desperately need Jesus to be my Savior.
Perhaps one day I’ll discover that the number 55 has an even deeper meaning than what I’ve found so far. Or perhaps there really is nothing special about the number 55. If anything, I guess writing all this out has helped me to process, to think deeply and to take time to abide with Jesus through it all.