Each year two students who excelled in their Homiletics (essentially, how to preach) class were chosen to speak at chapel at the end of the year. This year Rob was given the honor of being one of those speakers. He was decidedly nervous, though notably excited about being given this opportunity.
Speaking in front of a crowd of several hundred people isn’t something that happens to an aspiring preacher every day! I sat near the front and spent all of the praise and worship time praying for Rob as he was about preach in front of hundreds of his peers and many of his professors. I was so excited for him. I assumed he would do great—I had heard him preach more than a dozen times and he hit it out of the park every time. However, that was usually to a crowd of 20 or so college students. Maybe his nerves would get the better of him in this crowd?
As soon as he walked onto the gym floor, with his well worn Bible in hand, he delved into his sermon as if he’d preached it a hundred times before. If his nerves were getting the better of him, nobody in the audience had a clue.
He captivated my attention (though clearly, I was already his biggest fan… it wasn’t exactly difficult to capture my attention!) for 30 full minutes. I was blown away by the authority with which he spoke. I was awestruck by his knowledge and confidence. I was entranced by his wisdom.
Yup, I could—without a doubt—sit under this man’s preaching and teaching for the rest of my life. There was no question.
Ten years later I can still recall him talking about rattling bells, and I can hear his voice inside of my head proclaiming Paul’s anguish about being a slave to sin in the book of Romans when he says, “Oh wretched man that I am who can deliver me from this body of death?”
As he finished his sermon I couldn’t help but feel so proud of him. I wanted to run out afterward, throw my arms around him and encourage him. Instead, I restrained myself, waited until most of the crowd trickled out and walked in his direction. Once I got the opportunity to chime in amongst the crowd of people congratulating him I let him know that I thought he did an awesome job.
I flashed him a quick flirty grin and head down toward my next class. I couldn’t wait for the day that I could publicly, proudly and boldly proclaim that this was my guy. I wanted the whole world to know that I was the girl that had his attention. I was the one occupying his thoughts. I was the one he was spending hours upon hours with every day. I was the one he was taking home to meet his family.
I am his and he is mine. I think. I hope. I assume. Why is it that we are keeping our relationship a secret?
I tried not to get caught up in the oddness of the fact that were still dating in surreptitious manner. I had just heard the best sermon I had ever had the privilege of hearing. Coming from a man that I was so hopeful would someday be my pastor, my best friend, my life-long companion and so much more!