Ray sat on the sidelines of his daughter’s soccer game.  Little did he know, he was about to receive an invitation that would change his life.  He was sitting next to another Dad, and somehow, the two had never really met.   They engaged in idle chat which ended up turning into serious conversation.  Ray unveiled a portion of his heart to this new acquaintance.

You see, Ray was just coming out of one of the toughest seasons of his life.  His mentor and hero, his Dad, had just lost a long battle with cancer.  This, along with the fact that his mother was critically ill and his work stress was difficult, left him feeling very numb to life.  Ray was an only child, and despite having a wife and four great kids, at this moment, he felt very alone.  This must have prompted the other Dad, a Journey Guide, to invite Ray on The Journey.

Ray found himself at a Journey meeting with a group of men whom he did not know.  As they went around the table, introducing themselves and telling why they came to the meeting, it came to Ray.  He merely said, “I’m not really sure why I’m here.  I’m here because I was invited.”  Interesting to think about the power of simply inviting someone on The Journey.

It turns out that The Journey was exactly what Ray needed.  He was a Christian, and at one time, was very involved in his church.  However, during this season of life, he had been drifting away from God.  He describes his relationship with God as, “Postcards from Camp.”  He knew God was there, but He seemed very far away.  As he gave himself to the Journey Steps and began digging into God’s Word and Journaling, the distance between he and God shortened. All the materials, including the additional books, struck a chord with his searching heart.

Ray also realized how isolated he had become.  It was so refreshing for him to be on The Journey with other men.  He saw the blessing in “relationships” and how this Christian community was something that was missing.  However, the biggest awakening for Ray was how much he needed that personal, intimate relationship with the Father.  It was more than church involvement or even scriptural and theological knowledge.  It was a deep, loving relationship with God.  This was a crucial discovery for this man who had just lost his earthly Father.  He had a Daddy who loved him, One Who would never leave him.

Ray completed his first Journey group, and he gladly signed on to Co-Guide the next year.  He saw the extra special blessing of pouring himself into others and being a conduit for others to find what he had found.  This year, he contemplated taking a break from The Journey.  However, God had other ideas.  It turns out a group of young Dads with kids at the same school Ray’s children attended were starting a Journey group, and the Guide needed a Co-Guide.  Ray met with the group one time and knew this was a place he needed to be.  So, his journey continues.

Think how many Rays there may be on soccer sidelines all over this country who are living lives of quiet desperation.  They are out there, drifting around, waiting on a life line.  You may be the one to throw them that line.  It can be as simple as an invitation to The Journey.  These men, and all the men they will influence, are counting on us.  Let’s pray we don’t miss any opportunities.

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