by Bryan Cribb
He wasn't exactly escaping Nineveh. Neither was he a leviathan's lunch. And he wasn't spewed onto the seashore like Jonah.
But for Todd Crosby, student at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky., 14,400 volts of electricity jolted him into God's will just as effectively.
God's message came around mealtime on a July, 1999, afternoon in South Georgia. Hovering above his cable-laying comrades in an elevated bucket, Crosby considered his lunch options.
But for many weeks, the bivocational pastor and cable television lineman had been prayerfully contemplating more important issues-his future ministerial training. He knew God had called him to full-time ministry. He knew he needed theological training. He knew God had called him to Boyce to begin that training.
He just didn't know how he could drop his life, his pastorate and his 40 hour-a-week job and move his family more than 600 miles to Kentucky.
"I kept throwing up so many excuses why I couldn't come here," said Crosby, a bachelor of arts student from Baxley, Ga. "I just felt like there was no way I could pick my family up and move them all the way to Louisville.
"I knew this is what I desired to do," Crosby added. "I guess I'm hard-headed. God had to slap me around a little to get me here. ... He jolted me a little bit."
That jolt came as Crosby pulled up the last span of cable before lunch. Reaching to tie the cable off, he grabbed a line that had entangled with a hot wire 400 feet away.
Without warning, 14,400 volts-seven times more than the voltage used in an electric chair-surged through Crosby. The current blew holes out of his fingers. It traveled through his heart, then his lungs and stomach. Then it exited out his left side, leaving two fist-size holes.
Crosby's charred body clenched so violently his muscles detached from his bones. Somehow he let go of the line. Still conscious, Crosby collapsed in the crate.
"I didn't think I'd ever make it down to the ground," Crosby said
Not knowing what had happened, his friends lowered him down. His smoking clothes answered their frantic questions.
Far from town or hospitals, the ambulance seemed to take forever to arrive. In those painful minutes, the one Christian in his group prayed over Crosby. "In no time, he had his hands on me and was praying for me," Crosby said. "That could have a lot to do with why I'm still here today."
Rushed to the emergency room and then to the burn center in Augusta, Ga., doctors had doubts at first. The pain was excruciating. They could hardly sedate Crosby. And they wondered whether his arm could be salvaged.
But their pessimism soon turned to astonishment. Though he had suffered many burns both inside and outside the skin, most of his vital organs seemed unscathed. The medics marveled. Crosby credits God and the prayers of his family, friends and church.
"It was just a miracle from the word go," Crosby said. "The doctor at the burn center said, ‘We see some high voltage [cases], but most of the guys who get what you got never make it to us.'"
After five surgeries, lots of skin graphs and several weeks of recuperation, Crosby experienced a dramatic recovery. "The doctor said, ‘Sometimes you just say thank you and go on.' He didn't understand why I was doing as well as I was," Crosby said.
Lying in bed that night, all of Crosby's excuses against coming to Kentucky left him. "I remember the first night laying there in the hospital," Crosby said. "I said, ‘Yeah, I get the message now, God.'
"I don't know how to put it into words. Once I survived this thing, I knew exactly what I was supposed to do. ... I know most people who have kind of stared death in the face have said this, but it does make you put things into perspective about what's really important."
Crosby checked out of the hospital within two weeks. Six weeks after the shocking experience, he stepped back into the pulpit. Then last fall he enrolled at Boyce.
"It is a blessing and a privilege to be able to come here and study," Crosby said. "God saved me from this accident. He's made it possible for me to study for a reason. I constantly remind myself of that."
Other than some scars and his testimony, other students would not know of Crosby's incident.
"God is going to put you where he wants you," Crosby said. "I'm a living testimony to that. God worked this out from the time I was electrocuted to the time that I got here. He has knocked down one obstacle after another."
Of course, Crosby admits electrocution would not have been his chosen method of correcting his course. But he also admits God's method worked. "I just give him the praise and honor and glory for it all because I really shouldn't even be here. From now on, I'll listen a little closer without being so hard-headed," Crosby said.