I Certainly Don't Believe In Coincidence..., page 1
and for the Sake of Full Disclosure, I’m Not an Author Either
As would be the case with anyone else, the people who have spent any amount of time around me in my life know certain things about me. For example, I love and am proud of my roots and where I’m from. For those of you who are meeting me for the first time on this screen, I’m from a small city just outside of Detroit, Michigan called Wyandotte. I am so proud of where I’m from, that at the ripe age of 20, I decided to permanently tattoo the mitten-shaped state on my arm. This came only after my first tattoo, the logo for my favorite baseball team, the Detroit Tigers. Baseball is a huge part of my life (strictly as a spectator and fan), and again, this is something you may already know about me.
Another thing many people already know about me is that I am a Christian. A good old fashion C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N (I typed it that way intentionally, take an early break and sing the song from Sunday School).
Good, let’s keep going.
One thing has always felt like it was missing from my Christianity – A story. I grew up in church. I don’t remember that “salvation moment” or any of the first-time experiences many Christians talk about. I have always felt like that kind of stinks, but it’s just been a part of who I am. There is one other thing that was just a part of who I am when it came to Christianity. That other thing- I just don’t talk much about it.
It was never that I was trying to hide anything; I just wasn’t the guy who responded to everything with an “Amen” or an “I’ll be praying for ya.” Just wasn’t my style. Now if you wanted to initiate a conversation or get theological, I was all for it and would talk until you were disinterested, again, that’s just my personality.
Let’s stay away from theology here though. With this chapter, I just want you guys to learn who I am if you don’t already know. I’m a twenty-five year old male, I live in metro-Atlanta with my amazing (and smoking hot) wife and my one-and-a-half year old Boston Terrier Marty, who was named after legendary film director Martin Scorsese. I went to college, got a degree in Telecommunications, went to a lot of baseball games all over the country, bought a fish tank, made some music, and spent a few years working in a small country restaurant. Feel like you know me now?
As the title of this section implies so heavily, I am not an author. I have, however, had two decently successful blogs in the past few years, but I have never given myself the official title of ‘author’. So what do I do with my life? Well, while in college, I took a job in retail. It was the July before my sophomore year, and I was eighteen. I fell in love with the job and pursued a career with that same company that hired me when I needed the job the most. That’s where the story that I now have and want to share with you starts.
The Start of MY Story – Time to Go
In your career, have you ever just gotten that feeling that it was time to go? Not like a, “I hate my job/boss and I’m leaving!” or “This job stinks, I’m outta here,” but like a genuine feeling that it was time for you to get out? Well I’m young, but I can say that I’ve had that feeling… like a year and a half before all of this started. Now don’t get this wrong, I love the company that I worked for, I met some great people and had some great experiences, and really learned a lot that will help me take the next step.
I knew that it was my time to go, and so I prayed for God to deliver me from my job as if I were one of the children of Israel or something. I filled out an application here and there, never really pursued anything, but I knew God was going to come through in the clutch, like all the stories I’ve heard over the years. It was like I was just expecting to one day get offered a job on the spot or something.
In that time, a lot of negative stuff was going on in my life. I blamed that stuff on people. Fact of the matter is, people caused it! My accusation was justified. I never blamed God, never really faltered in my faith, but I stopped going to church altogether because it was simply a gathering of people, and I had grown to not care for people.
Eventually, I got to the point where I just couldn’t take it another day. Fortunately my wife has a successful career of her own, and she and I (mostly I) decided that I could go ahead and turn in a two-weeks notice without having another job lined up immediately. I had some decent job leads at that point, but nothing at all concrete. That day was September 19th, 2013. Some of you might remember that day. Here’s my Facebook status that morning:
“Today, I need wisdom, guidance, and probably a miracle. Pray saints… shoot sinners pray too. Lol”
I got to the point where for the first time in a long time (and honestly maybe ever), I was asking people to pray for me. I had made a comment to some family/friends in that year-and-a-half (in which I loved God but hated people) that I never wanted to be a prayer request. I grew up hearing people pray for their backslidden children. That wasn’t me. I still loved God. I still believed in the Truth. I still had faith (though it had just never been tested like it was about to be), I just didn’t want to be a part of a church. September 19th, that all changed.
My favorite comment on that status was from my Aunt Penny (sorry anyone else who commented). It read, “Matthew you know where your hope is, I will be praying for you I love you!!!!!”
I put that status on Facebook, typed up a two-weeks notice, and prayed on my hour-and-a-half commute like this, “God, I don’t want to come home with this paper. I KNOW that you have something else for me, but I’m not turning this paper in unless I get a phone call today. A handful of my close family and friends liked and commented on that status asking for prayer this morning, and I know that because they are praying, I’ll get a phone call today. Aunt Penny said I know where my hope is, and I do! It’s in my cell phone, and God, I know you are going to make it ring today with my way out of all of this.” That was legitimately my prayer. Sounds like I knew exactly what God needed to do, huh? Boy was I in for a surprise.
A Phone Call – Right on Time
Now I knew what I needed God to do at this point, I got to work at 8 AM and was really hoping my phone would ring before we opened at 10 AM. I was in the store with a co-worker who knew that I was looking to leave, and at 9:45, here it comes. We’re standing at the front of the store, and my phone rings. I look at it. It’s an Atlanta number that’s not in my phonebook. This is it. It has to be Lowe’s (where I really wanted to work; I had applied for a half-dozen positions with them at this point). I ran to a quiet spot in the store. I answered it.
“Hey, is this Matt Bayer?”
(In my extra chipper ‘hire me’ voice) “Why yes it is, how can I help you?”
“My name is Sean, I’m the worship pastor at Mount Paran North Canton.”
(In my slightly-disappointed-but-extremely-curious voice) “Oh. Hi Sean. What can I do for you this morning?”
“Well I’m in a pinch and I think you can help me. I don’t have a bass player for church this Sunday, and I hear you’re a pretty good bass player.”
Hold that spot in the conversation, we will pick it back up in a minute. Go back a few weeks to a Sunday afternoon that I was at work. If you’ve ever worked in retail, especially in management, you know that it demands your weekends, including most Sundays. At this point I was working about 3 out of 4 per month, which was another contributing factor to me not going to church. This particular Sunday afternoon, things were weighing heavy on my heart. I was hurting, bad. I was in the stock room, and texted my old youth pastor whom I haven’t seen in three years. He lives in the same area as me, and we have a brief conversation via text every few months, but we don’t talk much. This particular Sunday, I just texted him and said, “Brett, I miss y
“Oh, where did you get my information from Sean?”
“Well I hope you don’t mind, but Brett at Mount Paran North gave me your information and said you live in the area and might be able to help me.”
“Oh… Okay. Well I definitely don’t mind. I’ll be honest, it’s been a few years since I have played bass, but I’m in if your alright with that.”
“Cool, I’ll get you the music today, and I look forward to meeting you Sunday.”
Bummer. This was not the phone call I was looking for – or was it? But I was off that Sunday and I obliged. However, within minutes, I thought back to