Snell, Joy – Ministry of Angels – Suicide prevented by a vision of her Saviour
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Joy Snell – Ministry of Angels
A few weeks after my first visit to the hospital I left it one morning, feeling that I could no longer endure such a useless, unhappy life as mine had become, and resolved to find some way of escape from it. I wandered about aimlessly for hours, sitting down now and again when I could find a seat, and debating with myself the justifiability of suicide.
As time went on the case for suicide grew stronger in my mind; that for life weaker. At last I was convinced that the best thing I could do, both for myself and for those whose misfortune it was to be bound to me by the ties of relationship, was to kill myself. There only remained for me to decide what means I should adopt. While running over in my mind the various ways open to me by which I could end the life that had become hateful to me, and trying to decide which of them I should take, I heard the refrain of an old familiar hymn. Then I saw that I was passing a church.
Something which I seemed powerless to resist impelled me to go in. It was the first house of worship I had entered since my father’s death.
The hymn they were singing there was “Jesu, Lover of my soul”, It had been my father’s favourite hymn, and often I had sung it to him in the happy days that now seemed long years behind me. The words and the music touched some spring of emotion that I had thought was dead within me, and sinking into the nearest seat I buried my face in my hands and gave way to a flood of tears.
After a time, I know not how long, I became aware that the service was over and that I was kneeling alone in the church, now dimly illuminated by a few gas jets. Something like the calm that often succeeds the tempest had fallen on my storm-swept soul. I raised my head and looked up, and for the second time found myself gazing at the white-robed figure of the Saviour, surrounded by a bright light, which seemed to emanate from His own person. For a short time I gazed, spellbound by the indescribably tender passion depicted on that radiant face.
“Oh, help me!” I cried, “ For I am afraid to live and yet I dare not die”.
The Saviour stretched forth His hands in a gesture of loving appeal, and said in tones that revealed a depth of sympathy and tenderness no human voice is capable of expressing:
“Come unto Me, weary one and stricken with despair, and I will comfort you and give you work to do for Me. Now go in peace”.
The vision faded from my sight. A great burden seemed lifted from my soul, and I left the church resolved to begin a new life, a life that should be of some use to others. I have no recollection how I reached the house in which I was staying, but late that night I came to myself to find the good matron bending over me while I lay on the bed, fully dressed. She was alarmed by my appearance and summoned my uncle. I told him what I had seen.
“Thank God!” he exclaimed fervently. “This will be a turning point in your life”.
The unhappy life - the life which I seemed to have been living so long, though it had really lasted only a little more than two years - appeared to have fallen from me. My thoughts, which had been centred on my own grief and wretchedness, began to flow into new channels. Vistas of another life - a life that should be of some benefit to others- opened up before me. Again I was able to pray; again I was able to yield myself to the gentle influence of my unseen mentor. And like the strains of some haunting melody again and again there recurred to me those words:
“I will comfort you and give you work to do for Me.”