Patti Richter, On Faith | When Love and Faith Converge: The Ride

Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires — Song of Songs 2:7 (NIV)

ROCKWALL, TX – February 3, 2022 — My second semester of college began with bleak winter days in the Ozark Mountains. I was only a few hours from home by road but more than a few degrees colder by elevation and wind chill.

January delivered a personal punch to me as well. Before heading back to school after the long Christmas break, I received some disappointing news from my roommate, Carol, who became engaged over the holidays. Now she had decided to drop out of school and begin working.

Within a couple of weeks, the daylight grew longer, and my outlook brightened as well. I now shared a room with Marilyn, the Resident Assistant/Mother Hen on our second-floor wing. I also anticipated returning to an off-campus Bible study when it resumed on Monday nights. I had come to know Jesus as my Savior there in the fall, surrounded by an eclectic mix of students from different denominational backgrounds who became my new “sisters and brothers” in Christ. Now all I needed was a ride to get there.

Carol and I had had a weekly ride to the study with a couple of students from St. Louis. Jan lived down the hall from us, and her boyfriend, Jim, lived in a nearby apartment. However, Jan had not returned to school for the spring semester either! So, even though Jim was the one who invited me to the study back in September, I didn’t want to impose on him by asking for a ride. However, one night in early February, my wall phone rattled.

Marilyn grabbed the receiver since nearly every call was for her; then she smiled and handed it to me, its umbilical-like cord stretching across the room. Jim’s voice was as firm as ever, though he must have felt awkward calling me. His offer of a ride to Bible study was still good, he said.

But the next evening it was my turn to feel uncomfortable as I opened the front passenger door of his Ford Galaxy. The five-mile drive to Professor K’s house – alone with Jim – would seem longer than before.

The two of us naturally separated as we entered our hosts’ home to the warm welcomes of those we had little in common with outside of faith. There were no business majors, like Jim, or communications majors, like me; yet our mutual hunger for studying God’s Word made for rich fellowship among all of us. And though I’d been reading the Bible daily on my own, this coming together again seemed like a feast.
Jim and I found more to talk about on the return trip. We realized we shared similar church and family backgrounds. He told me how he had received Christ as his Savior – just one year before meeting me. Before I knew it, Jim pulled up to my dorm entrance and said he’d see me next Monday.

The following week, Valentine’s Day bouquets and boxes of chocolates appeared all around the campus. I expected no such treats (and got what I expected), but I at least had plans for that Monday evening. Jim’s familiar golden-brown sedan arrived exactly on time.

As we drove, it occurred to me that Jim might be wishing his faraway Valentine was sitting next to him instead of me. But one thing never entered my mind as I sat across the room from him that evening: I was Jim’s Valentine-to-be. This long-legged young man with a winsome appearance would become my Bible-study companion for life.

*Scriptures from the English Standard Version


By Patti Richter. Patti writes and edits Christian faith articles and has co-authored Signs of His Presence: Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering (March 2019). Read more of her essays at