Just three little numbers, right? Yeah, I thought so too the first time I noticed them. That was the number of my room at the Chiara Center in Springfield, IL. Chiara is, “Grounded in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, Chiara Center offers a peaceful, inspirational setting for individuals, couples and groups who seek Christ’s healing presence.” I stayed there for a couple of days, about a month after my father passed away, three years ago.
I did indeed find peaceful solitude and had some great moments with God. Most people there take on a vow of silence while on the grounds. I like to talk, so that was difficult for me to abide by, but in the long run, helped me.
After leaving Chiara, I slowly started noticing the number “222” popping up in all kinds of places. It was so odd that I begin searching out, why, and what does it mean? A friend helped me learn it meant “New Beginnings”. Four months later I met my Filipino wife April. That certainly was a new beginning, perhaps that is what God had in mind all along. Then I wound up moving to the Philippines and living there for seven months. Living in a foreign country was new to me. Could that be it? But I kept seeing the number, even after these big events took place.
I saw the number everywhere, and almost all the time, as addresses, on the clock, house numbers, as part of phone numbers, and even “order” numbers.
Then recently, my wife and I were invited to go to a lakeside resort, about an hour from our house, to pray with the team restarting the lodge, and creating a new ministry. We arrived and fell in love with the place, and the location. The lodge is close to where my father and I used to catch a lot of fish. We listened to their vision over dinner and then went to our room and continued to pray, seek God. We caught a hold of a vision of one way the place could be utilized. The idea caught on and sparked further discussion by others. At the end of the meeting, Saturday morning, we were excited about what all God wanted and could do at this location.
We stayed a second night with our neighbors, the host of the meeting and the cooks. While sitting around a bon fire and April eating her first S’more, hearts and past experiences were shared. Something started to grow inside April and me. That next week we found ourselves back out to the lodge to take pictures for social media. We were now volunteering. To make things easier for us, we were given a room where we could leave some things and not have to pack everything, every time we went there.
Yep, you have probably guessed by now, our room key was to room “222”. Tears swelled up in my eyes, and my heart flooded with joy. This was what God was bringing April and me to, all along. We are so excited, to now be a part of the ministry that will be happening here. Lives will be changed. Souls will be added to the kingdom of God. Hearts will be reunited with others and with God. Callings will take place here, and others will be strengthened. The tired will find rest, and then the strength to go on.
As April and I begin our lives together and after we were married there were a few times when it almost all ended, and it felt like heaven and hell were warring, one side trying to keep us together, and the other side trying to pull us apart. It was at those times, after the heat would die down, I would look at April and say, “Ya know, God must have something big for us to be a part of, because the devil is working really hard to tear us apart!”
Turns out, I was right, and we are so thankful God worked so hard to help us get to the day we found out that “222” was for this new beginning.
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