How many times have you felt that life isn’t worth living? Well friend, this was my life. It all started when my first marriage ended in divorce. I became very bitter, and as a result I became an alcoholic within a few years. Even though I was a heavy drinker, in time another woman came into my life and we decided to get married.
We loved each other a lot, but my drinking brought on many problems. I remember so well the argument that my wife and I had one December day, and not realizing that my life was about to change, I left the house to go to the liquor store for more whisky. When I returned, our dog sat whimpering beside the still form of my wife who was lying on the sofa. She had died from a massive heart attack while I was away. There was no note of goodbye, and it was now too late for me to say I was sorry and ask for forgiveness.
After the funeral service, I remember placing my hand on the coffin and saying, “Don’t worry honey, I’ll see you tomorrow:’ All I wanted to do was end my life, and get rid of all the pain, guilt and loneliness that I felt. As I turned to leave the grave-side, an inscription on a near-by tombstone caught my eye. It read, “SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS." Oh, how I hated those words, so I tried to block them out of my mind just as quickly as I had read them.
Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” I truly believe that at that moment, God was beginning to beckon me, but I was just too bitter and angry to listen.
Soon after my wife’s death, I quit my job and lived on sleeping pills and whisky. I gave away everything I owned and simply left town.
Many months and miles later I returned to visit my wife’s grave and see some old friends. When I went to bed that night, I didn’t know that the next day would be a turning point in my life. When I awoke the following morning I found that I couldn’t get up. An ambulance was called, and between the time that the ambulance arrived and dropped me off at the hospital, I had suffered two more strokes. I was told later that I had almost died. I now realize that God had His hand on my life through all this. You would think that during my hospital stay, my thoughts would turn towards spiritual things, but all I could think about was suicide.
The doctors told me that I would never walk again, but I had vowed in my heart to lay a wreath at my wife’s grave at Christmas time. With a lot of perseverance and determination, I finally learned to take a few steps, and gradually continued to improve.
Christmas came, and with it, the opportunity to visit my wife’s grave and place the wreath that I had promised her. As I turned to leave, that same tombstone with its inscription caught my eye: “SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS.” The Lord was again calling me, inviting me to open my heart and let Him in, but deep inside I felt that He would never accept me. After all the drinking, swearing and lying that I had done, I thought that I was too great a sinner.
That night I planned to take my life, but there was one thing I wanted to find out first. How do I get to know God, and this man called Jesus? I was an out-patient in the hospital, so I returned, and went immediately to see a Christian lady who I knew worked as a volunteer in the hospital. I talked with her at great lengths telling her of my plans to take my own life. She wheeled me into an empty room, and pulled a Gospel tract out of her pocket, and simply asked me if I would be willing to repeat the sinner’s prayer written on the back page. I agreed, and after I was finished, she said, “Paddy, if you really meant with all your heart everything you just said, then you are now a born again Christian. Jesus says that we must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven. John says in his book in chapter 3, verse 6, ‘’That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
In my mind I wanted to tell this woman she was crazy, as I didn’t feel any different, but she told me that I was indeed a child of God, and that my life would never be the same.
I returned to my room and placed my old King James Bible on my chest; the one which had been given to me many years ago, and then promptly went to sleep. The thought of suicide never again appealed to me after that night. What I did not know was that God’s Holy Spirit had come into my heart, and that Jesus was living within me. He had heard my prayers, and Revelation 3:20 was true after all. He is slowly changing my life. II Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” I can look into the mirror for the first time in years and not hate what I see.
God has completely taken away my desire for liquor and I am finally freed from alcoholism. In its place, He has given me a hunger for His word, and a longing to fellowship with other Christians. Then one night I prayed, “Lord, there is not much left of this old body, but what is left now belongs to You. What can I do to help others?”The name of The Salvation Army kept going over and over in my mind, so I telephoned them and asked if they were in need of any volunteers for the suicide prevention line. I was interviewed and accepted for training. I now spend most of my free time at the Salvation Army office trying to help others, and telling them about Jesus and His love. The Lord has also sent a very lovely lady into my life, and we plan on being married in the very near future.
So, dear friend, please don’t pull that trigger, or swallow those pills, but rather open your heart to Jesus Christ and give Him a chance in your life. Please read Revelation 3:20 and Luke 18:13. Then say the sinner’s prayer and invite Jesus to come into your life to be your personal Saviour. He won’t let you down, for He Himself has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Read Hebrews 13.)
I am no longer able to work because of my stroke, but I have a wonderful Saviour who has promised to supply my every need according to His riches in glory. (See Philippians 4:19.) I still use a cane to get around, and can only walk a block at a time, but I am so thankful to God that He saved me that night. I finally know the real meaning of the words, “SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS!”
(PADDY) CHARLES EMMONS
The Sinner’s Prayer
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that He died on the cross so that we may have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead three days later. Please forgive me, Jesus, for every sin I have ever committed, and come into my heart right now and be my personal Saviour, and take full control over my life from this moment on. I pray this in the Name of Jesus Christ. AMEN!
THE SEVEN STEPS TO SALVATION
- Romans 3:10
- Romans 5:8
- Romans 3:23
- Romans 6:23
- Romans 5:12
- Romans 10:13
- Romans 10:9-10