Sarah and Bobby McCoy


“……the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.”  Psalm 84:11



When God Doesn’t Say- Rise and Walk


The testimony of Bobby McCoy


At about 10:45 on a Wednesday night I pulled up to a traffic light, prepared to make a left hand turn onto the campus of Bob Jones University where I was living. I had enjoyed a wonderful evening with my fiance. I had just arrived back on campus from Christmas Break the day before and was ready to complete my last semester toward my Masters degree. I came to Bob Jones University in the fall of 1994 to study for my Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible. Through much prayer I believed that the Lord was calling me into the ministry. As a result, I had a strong desire to prepare sufficiently for the task at hand. In May of 1998 I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Bible and participated in the Commencement activities. From that point I planned to work as hard as I could during the summer to earn enough money to come back to Bob Jones University and to complete my Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Studies. I strongly desired to finish this program in one year. For that reason I had taken six hours of graduate courses during the spring semester of my senior year and planned to finish the remaining twenty-seven hours in the following year. Everything had fallen right into place during the summer. I was able to get a good job which allowed me to save money for the next year. I figured that with money earned through the school year I would be able to graduate with my graduate degree and remain free from debt.


There was something else I desired to purchase with the money I had earned from the summer – a diamond ring. I met Sarah on the second day of speech class during my freshman year. She was majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in English. Throughout our freshman year, we did some things together, but not very often. Our junior year we began to see each other on a regular basis and during my senior year I knew that the Lord’s will for my life was to marry Sarah. Through the summer, my dad and I would go to different jewelry stores looking for the perfect ring. I made several contacts through the summer that assured me of their efforts to help me find the right ring.


After graduation, Sarah began distributing her application to schools around the country and mid-way through the summer she accepted a position to teach sixth grade at Easley Christian School in Easley, South Carolina. We had surrendered to wherever God wanted to put Sarah, but we wanted to be together during our engagement. This was a direct answer to prayer. This meant that Sarah would be living in Greenville while I finished my graduate work.


The fall semester came and I began graduate school. On September 19, 1998 Sarah and I went on a picnic to Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain National Park. After the picnic, I proposed to Sarah asking her to be my wife and revealing the ring. Without hesitation she accepted and the excitement for my graduation and our marriage rose that much more. After talking it over with our parents, we set the wedding date for June 19, 1999. While in Greenville, we would spend time together in the evenings and make wedding plans- talking for hours and hours about the future. We both had surrendered our lives to God. We wanted Him to use us. Everything we planned was concluded with a request for God’s blessing and His ultimate will to be done.


The Lord blessed through the semester helping me with my studies. I was able to work through the semester and was also able to complete the requirements in each class. Toward the end of the semester I sent my application to the Extension Office at Bob Jones University and requested it to be sent out to churches in order to find a place to minister in the upcoming year. I was so excited about the future; I was finally beginning the process of finding a place to serve the Lord with my life. Four and a half years of preparation in school had been accomplished and I was entering my final semester. Everything seemed to be falling right into place: I would graduate with my Masters degree, I would then marry my fiancée in the summer, and together we would serve the Lord in the ministry, wherever He was going to lead us. If a person could write a story, it could not have been written any better than the way my life was unfolding.


Sarah and I spent much of the Christmas Break apart that year. Due to our schedules, we were together for about a week. During the time that we were together, we made wedding plans concentrating specifically on the ceremony. I took the opportunity to ask my Dad to be my Best Man in the wedding. After our week together, Sarah went up to Ohio to visit family during the Christmas Break. During the New Year holiday, my family went to Tempe, Arizona where we watched our favorite team, the Tennessee Volunteers, finally win a National Championship. The next week I was packing my car in order to be back in Greenville for the start of the new semester. I arrived in Greenville Tuesday night and settled into my dormitory room. I then went to my fiancé’s apartment to visit a while with her. On Wednesday I made a lot of plans pertaining to the semester. I purchased my books, made arrangements for work, and continued unpacking my boxes. I was so excited about seeing Sarah that evening. After such a busy day, the time finally came when I was to go to Sarah’s apartment. I picked her up that evening and we went to church. After the service I went back to Sarah’s apartment and we caught up on some of the things that had happened over the last month. One topic in particular was very significant that night. I was the one that initiated this conversation. As we sat there at Sarah’s apartment, I asked her how we would handle a difficult trial in our lives if the Lord allowed it. We discussed it and came to the conclusion that no matter what happened, God would give us the grace and strength to be victorious in the midst of any difficulty. We were satisfied with our conclusion, so we changed topics and began talking about other interests. Unfortunately, the evening was over and before I knew it and I had to leave in order to get back to school. Little did I know just how significant that conversation would be later that very night.


Everything seemed so perfect as I was driving back to the campus. I was to begin my final semester of classes the next day, my fiancée and I were counting the days until our wedding, and I eagerly anticipated what the Lord had in the way of a future ministry for us. Just as I did almost every night, I arrived at the entrance to campus and stopped at the red light. As I sat at the light, a driver coming the other way ran the red light and hit a car. In an attempt to lessen the impact, the driver swerved and lost control of his car. All of this happened in a fraction of a second right before my very eyes. The car that had run the red light then plowed right into the side of my vehicle sending my car spinning. Everything happened so fast. After the accident, I was conscious and facing the opposite direction from which I had been traveling. I noticed the damage to my vehicle- the bent metal and broken glass. I noticed the other individuals involved in the accident, but I didn’t notice that something was wrong with me until I attempted to reach for the ignition to turn off my idling engine. As I made the conscious effort to move my arms forward, nothing happened. In a panic I attempted to reach for the ignition again. On the second attempt my right arm fluttered forward revealing a limp wrist and hand. I was terrified- I had heard of people becoming “paralyzed”, but not me-not when I still had the rest of my life to live. As I sat in the car and the anger rose within me, I was reminded of the fact in Romans 8:28:


“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”


At that moment, while sitting in the car I prayed, recognizing that God was in control and that He allowed this to happen for a reason. I had always known that truth and even submitted to it, but never to this extent. In my prayer I asked God to give me the strength to be a faithful Christian through this situation.


After almost an hour, I was removed from the car. The “jaws of life” was brought out in order to cut the mangled metal and remove the roof of the car. I was placed in an ambulance and was on my way to the hospital. While lying in the back of the ambulance, Psalm 46:10 the Lord brought to mind:


“Be still and know that I am God……”


As I arrived at the hospital, tests were taken to determine my injury. My fiancé came to the hospital as well as my brother at BJU and my parents and grandmother in Tennessee. After x-rays and tests the neurologist determined that I had suffered a spinal cord injury in the neck area. Surgery was performed and it was at that point that the doctors realized that the spinal cord was not severed and therefore feeling and movement in some form could possibly return. I spent a week undergoing limited sessions of therapy and then was transported to Atlanta, Georgia to a specialty hospital dealing specifically with spinal cord injuries. As my room was being settled in preparation for my two month stay, a verse found in Philippians was taped to the walls of my room. I would lay in bed every night meditating on its message:


“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 1:6


I praise God for the good work He has performed in my life beginning at salvation. His good work He promised to continue through my life. At the age of five I realized that I was a sinner. I had not done anything “”terribly”” wrong, but neither had I lived a perfect life. What so many people label as “”mistakes”” are nothing more than sin. The Bible says that every person born into this world is a sinner:


“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23


“For there is none righteous, no not one.” -Romans 3:10


I understood that because of my sins I could not spend eternity with God and would instead spend my eternity separated from God because of my sins:


“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” -Romans 6:23


There was no doubt in my mind that God loved me. Just as a parent loves their children, spouse or family members, God loves you even more than that. Some people grow up in homes where love does not exist between family members or is not demonstrated to each other. You must know though that God loves you:


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16


“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8


As much as you attempt to earn salvation, you cannot achieve it. The gift of salvation, spending an eternity with Jesus Christ and living for Him now, can only be accepted as a gift. You cannot accomplish good works in order to get to heaven:


“”……but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”” -Romans 6:23b


“”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”” -Ephesians 2:8-9


The only way you can accept the precious gift of salvation is to realize your sinful condition, realize that God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins, understand that God loves you, and to accept the grace of God, and by faith pray and prayer ask Jesus Christ to be your personal Savior.


“……how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures……” -I Corinthians 15:3-4


“…… It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” -Romans 8:34


Jesus Christ is alive today. He defeated death and has provided salvation to all who will accept Him. Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ and His work on the cross for you.


“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”-Romans 10:13


“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” -John 14:6


I praise God for the gift of salvation that I received at the age of five. At the time of the accident, as I sat in the car unable to move, I will never forget the peace that I experienced in spite of the chaos around me. That peace came because I knew that I was a child of God and that He was in control of what happened in my life.


“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28


“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”  -Job 23:10


God allows difficult situations in the lives of His children in order to make them more Christ-like and in order for God to receive glory through the situation.


I shudder to think of having to experience such a difficulty without having Jesus Christ as my Savior. There would be no understanding of why such a bad thing had happened and there would be no source of strength from God. What would have happened if I had not received Christ as my Savior and I had been killed in the accident? I would have experienced eternity separated from Christ in a literal, burning hell.


“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” -Hebrews 9:27


You might think you are too young to die or that you have decided to wait about receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior. I was only twenty-three and had the rest of my life to live. You might think that you will never put yourself in a position for something bad to happen. I was not doing anything wrong- I was sitting at a red light coming home from church. If you have never asked Christ to be your personal Savior, I urge you to please not put it off for another moment. This might be your final chance.


Not only are you to entrust your eternal destiny to Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, but you must also surrender your life to Jesus Christ now as you live on this earth. I surrendered my life to the Lord as a young teenager. In surrendering my life to God I was willing to live my life for Him. I realized I was not on this earth to make money, friends, or have fame. I realized I must serve Christ by telling others about the good news of salvation through Christ. I was expected, as a Christian, to live an example that would glorify God.


While being a student in Greenville I regularly attended Faith Baptist Church. During that time I was blessed to hear the story of Pastor Vaughn and his family as they experienced a difficult trial in their family. The pastor’s wife and daughter were severely burned in a house fire. As I heard this story I desired to get their story in printed form, so I purchased their book More Precious than Gold. In reading the book I found it to be an encouragement and a blessing. It touched me so much that I decided to use excerpts of the book in a speech I was going to deliver for my class on the topic of trials. As I read and studied, God began to work in my heart. I found myself wondering if I would be willing to go through a difficult trial if it meant that the Lord would be honored and glorified. Here I was a Christian studying for the ministry at a strong Christian college. I felt as if I was doing everything God expected of me, therefore I ignored this entire line of reasoning. Well, God continued to press me with this aspect of surrender. You know what it is like- you know the right response, but you want to rebel and do what you want. It might be the matter of salvation or surrender, but you choose to ignore God’s call. The pressure did not let up, I knew what I was supposed to do. I found myself thinking, “”Lord, just let me be an average Christian and serve you in the ministry, but please do not expect any more.”” My focus was on being a comfortable, lukewarm Christian. Finally, after much prayer and thought, I surrendered this aspect of my life to God. Yes, I would be willing to endure a trial if it meant that God would be glorified. I did not realize what God had planned, but I was surrendered and experienced joy and peace knowing that I was right in the center of God’s will. It would be four and a half years later that God would put me to the test. The night of my accident, Pastor Vaughn came to the hospital to assure me that God had allowed this to happen and that He would give the strength needed through this difficulty.


I spent seven weeks in the rehabilitation center in Atlanta. Every weekend my parents and fiancée would come and visit. I received very intense rehabilitation as I made the necessary adjustments of being in a wheelchair. Some days were difficult, but I had to remember that God was in control and that I had surrendered the entire situation to him.


After being in Atlanta for seven weeks, I was allowed to go back home to Tennessee. Upon my arrival home, I began additional outpatient physical therapy, traveling thirty minutes to Knoxville to visit a rehabilitation center. With each passing day, we came closer to our original wedding date. Right after the accident, my fiancée and I envisioned a possible marriage in the distant future, but were resigned to the fact that it would have to wait. I was so delighted that Sarah still wanted to marry me in spite of the present circumstances. We faced reality, we both prayed earnestly that God would allow us to keep our wedding date. As the time drew nigh, the Lord continued to allow more strength and mobility to come back to me. We also received an invitation from Bob Jones University for me to come back to school as a graduate assistant and complete my Masters’’ degree and for Sarah, as my wife, to be on staff at the BJU Museum and Gallery. This was a direct answer to prayer. In time, we received our parents’’ blessing and continued encouragement, so we frantically began making plans for the wedding. As planned, we had our wedding on June 19, 1999, and after our honeymoon in the Smoky Mountains we moved to Greenville, South Carolina. The Lord has been so good to us. In May, 2000 I completed my Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Studies and I completed my Master of Divinity degree in 2003. Bob Jones University has allowed me the opportunity to continue my graduate studies as I begin work on my Master of Divinity. I continue to experience more strength and mobility as I participate in physical therapy, and my wife and I have enjoyed five years of marriage. God has been so good. The story is not over, God will continue to perform His perfect plan in our lives.



Human nature is inclined to believe bad things always happen to someone else. Just as Bobby mentions in his testimony, “On the second attempt my right arm fluttered forward revealing a limp wrist and hand. I was terrified- I had heard of people becoming ‘paralyzed’, but not me-not when I still had the rest of my life to live.” As you read Bobby’s testimony there is no escaping the sobering reality that no one is exempt from the unexpected. Only through Jesus Christ is strength found to endure what, humanly, is impossible to understand.


As Bobby so clearly states “I shudder to think of having to experience such a difficulty without having Jesus Christ as my Savior. There would be no understanding of why such a bad thing had happened and there would be no source of strength from God. What would have happened if I had not received Christ as my Savior and I had been killed in the accident? I would have experienced eternity separated from Christ in a literal, burning hell.”


If you are experiencing a life changing situation that is difficult to understand and would like to realize the peace that Bobby has experienced then please visit Promise of Hope.


Be sure to check out a special Message of Hope by Bobby McCoy.


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