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  • Writer's pictureJulie Gross

I Love Jesus, and “I Love You!”

Earlier this summer, my husband and I went to a celebration of life service for a man that my husband respected immensely. The man was the football coach at the University of Sioux Falls when my husband and I attended the school. The man’s name was Bob Young. Now, I didn’t play football at USF, but my husband did, and it made a huge impact on his life, and in hearing from many of Bob Young’s former players, it made a huge impact on the lives of many.

As we sat for about an hour and a half in the June heat with the sun beating down on us as we sat in the metal bleachers at the USF football stadium, I found myself wiping away tears as people spoke about this great man and his legacy. The recurring themes in their messages and the repeated words and phrases were not planned, but they very obviously showed the kind of man Bob was.

At the service, they also played some radio/television recordings that Bob did before he passed away, and in his own words, He talked about the love of God, and how God sent His own son to die on a cross to save us all from our sins and death. It was a powerful testimony!

This theme of love was also brought up again and again by many of the speakers who talked about Bob’s faith in God and how Bob’s life was a reflection of God’s love. Bob always put others first. I can attest to this as anytime Geoff received a phone call or an email from him, Bob always asked Geoff about me, our boys, Geoff’s job, and his faith. He had a true servant’s heart. More than one of his former players mentioned how Bob would always end conversations with, “Love you, man.”

Now, this more than anything got to me. It really made me tear up as Geoff and I were walking to our car along with a few other former players and their wives, and as we parted ways, my husband said, “Love you, man” to those other men, all in their forties or fifties. They replied in the same way: “Love you, man.” It was really, truly a beautiful thing. Now, I know saying, “I love you,” can be just three words that are easily spoken, but it was obviously so much more than that when spoken by Bob Young and these former players. I could see it on their faces and hear it in their voices. I could feel it!

For Bob Young, life was all about the relationships he had with others and letting them know God’s love through his words and his actions. What an incredible legacy!

I John 4:7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” I want to more clearly and visibly live out that love that comes from God. I want to love like a servant leader. I want to not be afraid to say, “I love you” to my friends and my family and my acquaintances! I want others to see Christ in me because they see the love I have for others. Now, this won’t be easy. But that’s okay; I can do hard things with the help of God!

I thank God for Coach Bob Young–without him, Geoff probably wouldn’t have gone to USF, and he and I probably wouldn’t be married. I know that Geoff wouldn’t be the man that he is today if he hadn’t played football under Coach Young.

Love you, man!


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