Joe was all set for retirement. He had done well in his accounting firm and his kids were grown and nearly self-sufficient. He had bought a farm in the country where he couldn’t wait to spend some time. Life was very well-managed and predictable. He and his wife had begun attending a new church to support their daughter’s interest, and Joe’s wife drug him to a Sunday School class. Intellectually, he was enjoying learning about Bible history, but he wasn’t sure he was ready when the teacher asked him to consider joining this thing called “Journey.” However, Joe’s wife gave him a nudge which told him that she thought it would be a good idea.
Joe decided to give it a shot and soon found himself hungering for more of God’s truth. The scales began to fall from his eyes, and Joe started to look at Faith in a whole new light. He was mostly quiet in the group meetings, until one time when he could not contain himself. “How come no one ever told me these things?” Joe exclaimed with a sense of surprise mixed with anger. Joe continued to dive deeper into the things of God. When it came time to explore the Holy Spirit through the lens of a Sailboat analogy, Joe, who had much sailing experience, wrote the most profound, insightful journal entry of all. He was getting it!
The next year, Joe accepted an invitation to Co-Guide a group. He was still excited about retirement and his plans, but things were changing. Then, a health scare arose with his wife. A spot was found on her lungs and doctors were concerned about cancer. All of the sudden, plans were put on hold, and personal abandonment and absolute trust was tested. A few Journey guys gathered around Joe’s wife to pray for healing. This whole experience was new to Joe and his wife. It is one thing to pray to God for help. It is another to let other believers into your pain and fear and allow them to lift you up. Shortly thereafter, Joe’s wife got a clean bill of health. Joe’s faith was increasing.
Joe was also a motorcycle enthusiast. His retirement plans included lots of cross-country motorcycle trips. Right after he retired, he joined some buddies on a ride. While exiting an off-ramp, he came quickly upon stopped traffic and had to lay his Harley on its side before slamming into the cars in front of him. He was thrown into a wall and was seriously injured. This easily could have been the end of Joe’s journey on earth. He was in the hospital for many days. He had much time to think and pray. He also got to see the faith community in action as Journey brothers would visit him in the hospital. Joe decided to quit making so many plans of his own and to start trusting the Lord with his retirement.
He began taking some on-line seminary classes, as he hungered to know more of God’s Word. He kept leading other men to Christ, and he made the transition from a life of success to a life of significance. God is continuing to grow Joe into the man of God He wants him to become, and He continues to stretch him. Joe heard about how Influencers was bringing Journey groups into Prisons, and now, God is calling him in that direction. Retirement sure looks a lot different for Joe now than it did 5 or 6 years ago, but Joe would say that it could not be more satisfying.