27. No. 5 shall be first

A remarkable series of events occurred between January and March 2002. These events, which I printed in my e-magazine ‘Outside the Square’, heralded my entry into the realm of the supernatural. Please keep an open mind as you read on.

It started with a joke whose punch line I had read years ago in a Reader’s Digest Magazine:

Lucky number.

Fred’s lucky number was number 5. Booking into a motel he always asked for room number 5. Even before he was married he told his wife-to-be he wanted 5 children. He had a passion about number 5. When the Adelaide Cup was run on May 5th that year, he would not miss the opportunity for his lucky strike. He invested his entire savings of $ 5000 on horse number 5. It worked. His horse came fifth. 

After I told my friend Geoff this joke recently, he commented that his lucky number is 2. He was serious; born on the 2nd of Feb., the second child in the family etc. At the November church camp he was booked into unit 22 by sheer co-incidence. We have not stopped teasing him since. A few weeks ago Geoff and I visited a sick friend on the other side of the city. Geoff was driving.

The joke continued: “Now I know, Geoff, why you always take up two lanes!


Poor Fred had his heart set on becoming 1st prize winner by backing horse No. 5. What transpired during the Olympic Games was not a joke, despite making all of Australia and the world smile. Here is my article from Outside the Square, March 2002:   


Lucky Number Sequel

In the January 02 edition I joked about Fred whose lucky number was five. The punch line was that he believed in No. 5 so strongly that he punted $ 5000 on horse number five, which promptly ran fifth.

At the recent Winter Olympics Australian Steven Bradbury expected to come last in the 1500 m Speed Skating final. He trailed the other four contestants in fifth place.


But the little Aussi battler, who had to borrow money to repair his old car, suddenly had a stroke of luck. The other four contestants fell just before the finish line. He could not believe that he had won gold; Australia’s first ever Gold Medal at a Winter Olympics. Bradbury was quick to point out, that God was smiling on him at that moment.

Reporters were quick to point out that the last man standing wins the race.


The name Bradbury would resurface in a strange twist on Good Friday. At the middle of March I emailed the following, special edition of ‘Outside the Square’:


Lucky number - Sequel II

In the January 02 edition I joked about Fred whose lucky number was five. The punch line was that he believed in No. 5 so strongly that he punted $ 5000 on horse number five, which promptly ran fifth.

In February, Steven Bradbury, an Aussi Ice Skater won gold at the Salt Lake Olympics, fully expecting to come last in the 1000 m Speed Skating final. He trailed the other four contestants in fifth place, but could hardly believe his luck, when his four opponents crashed at the final turn.

How ironic is it that on the second of March 2002 Australian Mark Webber came fifth on his first ever Formula 1 race in Melbourne? This time the mayhem was caused by literally high-flying German driver Ralph Schuhmacher on the first turn. The race continued with half the field competing. The Aussi Team was ecstatic with their placing. The Adelaide Advertiser captured their mood rather aptly. A cartoon showed a podium where Number Five spot eclipsed the first four places into nothingness. As I write, our Formula 500 race is taking place right here in Adelaide (in 35 C. heat!!). I wonder who will finish in fifth place.


There were two inaccuracies in the article. One, Ralf is not spelled with ph and two; it was the 1500 m race not the 1000 m one.  I never found out who won fifth place in Adelaide’s Formula 500 race.


To me it was uncanny, firstly an Aussie who was happy to be fifth (last), came first. Secondly, an Aussie who was never expected to be amongst the top ten, coming fifth and being hailed as if he had come first.   


What struck me also as significant was a high-flying German named Ralf influencing the outcome of this major sporting event. My middle name is Rolf. The a/o exchange in words would come up time and again. It started with a joke many years ago: Auto (German for car) starts with the letter a and finishes with o. (The joke is, the excitement of owning a car [Ah!] turns to disappointment [Oh!] after the first crash or car repair).


One could also call my suggestion of not feeling guilty when speeding at 64 km/h in a 60 zone as law-risk driving. My book teaches low-risk driving. Much later I became aware that God calls himself the alpha (a) and omega (o). Who was I to imagine such awesome linking? It would become even more sacrilege in the months to come. The number 15 would become another symbol of the spiritual awakening that was slowly taking place.


The numbers 1 and 5 had joined 35 in the remarkable numbers game. It took me many months or even years to realize why the No. 5 is so significant. The Roman numeral for 5 is V. Winston Churchill’s famous salute showed his two fingers as a victory sign. Yes, No. 5 was a sign of victory for me.   


As I have expressed a number of times before I started wondering who I really was. A combination of extraordinary events and numbers pointed in my direction; but what for? Who was I to receive this attention? One day it dawned on me that the addition of a V onto the numberplate of my Mitsubishi (VHO) would produce a WHO. God revealed things to me ever so slowly. I never searched out any links, but accepted them as my eyes opened to them.


One Sunday early morning the book of Acts came to my mind. I decided to look up Acts chapter 2, Verse 28. It read: “I have shown you the way of life and in your presence is fullness of joy.”


How fitting this was to my situation. The title of my book clearly states: “A skill for life.” No, this did not require a mental illness to recognize the parallel. Out of curiosity I looked up chapter 22, Verse 8: “And I said, who are you Lord? The voice answered: I am Jesus the one you are persecuting.”


The thought blew my mind. I burst into tears as I had never before. My mind was racing, my heart pounding with emotion. I was sure I was going to die that Sunday morning.


Saul was an ardent crusader against the new doctrine that had invaded Jerusalem at the time. He was on his way to Damascus to seek out and imprison followers of Jesus, when he was engulfed by a bright light and fell to the ground. He heard a mystery voice asking: “Saul, why are you persecuting me? Verse 8, the verse matching my Suzuki’s numberplate, gave the answer as to who the voice was.


If God was playing games with me, this was over the top. “You can’t call this a game any longer, Lord. Please, don’t torture me like that,” I pleaded.


From that time onwards my curiosity seldom accepted circumstances as co-incidental, but as God-incidental. Not for one moment did I contemplate or would I claim to be ‘Jesus’. But I started to firmly believe HE was arranging circumstances behind the scene in HIS way. Was this how HIS will will be done?   


Chapter 28





1. More in number      2. A sound mind       3. Now I'm found       4. Candle and the Wind


  5. Realm of Nature      6. All in his Hand        7. The Wonder of it All     8. To Think God loves