Jim Snyder would consider himself an ordinary man living an ordinary life, surely not one that involves angel sightings.But when his wife died of pancreatic cancer, Jim was devastated by her loss. He tried to hold everything together and deal with his grief. But as months passed and Jim’s heartache continued, “I began asking God for a sign that everything would be okay, and that I would eventually get through this,” Jim says.
One night, about six months after his loss, as he lay in bed trying to fall asleep, he opened his eyes for a moment. There, floating almost casually above his bed was an angel. “The image was moving, and the face of the angel was surrounded by pillowy white clouds, almost like a wreath,” Jim recalls.
Jim could scarcely believe what he was seeing. He blinked several times, but the vision remained. Then slowly it moved across the ceiling. “It had the most peaceful look on its face,” Jim says, “and it slowly faded away. I lay there for several minutes, enjoying the calmest and most restful feeling I had ever experienced.”
Jim thought about the vision all week. Was it an angel? If so, why had it been sent to him? He was just an ordinary person, wasn’t he? Perhaps it had just been a figment of his imagination? And yet there had been that indescribable moment of joy and unshakable faith…
That Wednesday, Jim attended a Bible study meeting and also went to church services. As the groups broke up and people headed home, Jim asked the Bible instructor, a complete stranger, if they could speak privately. “I told him what had happened,” Jim says. “I wanted to know if he thought I was going crazy, or perhaps seeing things that weren’t there.”
The man smiled, as if he were not at all surprised by Jim’s words. He walked to his books lying on the table, and picked up his Bible. Turning to a marked page, he handed the Bible to Jim. “I noted this over twenty years ago,” he said, “when I saw an image very much like the one you’re describing.”
Jim could hardly believe it. He looked at the underlined text. “And God sent an angel to comfort him.” The brief verse described Jesus’ suffering in the garden before His crucifixion.
Jim was flooded with understanding. God had not sent an angel to banish his own son’s pain, or even to lift it, for this was not in the heavenly plan. But God had sent an angel—to his son and to every grieving person—to simply be there, with comfort and understanding. “Life is sometimes difficult,” Jim’s angel had been telling him, “but you will never go through it alone.”
“My life has been nothing short of miraculous ever since,” Jim says. “Just thought you would like to know.”
Yes, Jim, I’m very happy to know that your life has become more peaceful. And I’m sure your angel is still watching over you every day.