Believest Thou This?

Resting in the Reality of the Resurrection

Not too far from where I live is a beautiful
memorial garden where my father is buried. I pass by
there often, and many times I find myself
remembering the comforting words of Jesus in the New
Testament, spoken to a woman who had lost a
loved one in death.

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall
he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in
me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Because I do believe Christ’s promise, I have the
absolute, unshakable assurance that I will see my
father again some day. He is going to be
resurrected! Jesus said so, and He triumphed over
death nearly 2,000 years ago. Because He lives,
we shall live also.

Now, if Jesus had said, “I’m your resurrection
and life,” and hadn’t come out of the grave, I
wouldn’t have very much hope that my father is
going to be resurrected… or that I will be. But our
Saviour did rise again. HE’S ALIVE!

My father’s homegoing

My father, Rex Shelton, was so very dear to me.
He was a man of faith — he had the assurance of
his personal salvation. He trusted completely in
Jesus. So when the time came for him to leave this
life, mother and all of us children were ready to see
his suffering end, knowing that he would be
ushered into the presence of Jesus for all eternity.

“Go on, Dad. We know you want to go. Go on,
Dad.” These words of love, understanding, and
comfort were spoken by my brother Bob as our
father was drawing his last breath of mortal life.
My two brothers, their darling wives, and my
precious husband and I had gathered at my mother’s
side from all parts of the country. She had not
called one of us. Through the drawing power of
God’s Spirit, we had sensed that Dad was ready to
leave us, and we all wanted to be there.

How we praise the Lord for those closing days
and hours with him. We talked together, laughed
together, cried together, prayed together, and
loved together. The very presence of God was in
that hospital room each day and night, and we
experienced the serenity that He alone can give.
Oh, how great is our dear Lord to condescend to
care for our feelings, frustrations, and passions.

I had felt so helpless as I watched my father
suffer. We had prayed for a miracle — for the
healing of his body. But, as the Lord said “no” to
Paul when he three times prayed to be healed of
his infirmity, so God had said “no” to us. Instead,
He promised a special reward and crown for Dad’s
patience and suffering during those 11 months of
intense pain. Through it all, Dad never doubted
God’s love, infinite wisdom, and plan for his life.
He knew Jesus was walking with him every
moment and that he was not bearing the pain

“My Lord is waiting!”
   “Rexella, look up there.” I had leaned very close
to my father’s side as he pointed to the wall from
his bed.

“What is it, Daddy?”

“I’m walking through the valley of the shadow
of death.”

With all the compassion and love I had within
me, I placed my hand on his and asked, “Who is
waiting for you on the other side?”

Great peace shone on his face and tears welled
up into his eyes as he replied, “My Lord… my
Lord is waiting.”

The valley of the shadow of death is not hurtful
or painful for a believer. Just as it causes no pain to
drive through the shadow of a truck on the
highway, so passing through the shadow of death
brings but a temporary lack of full light and
brightness as we approach heaven — where Jesus
himself is our light.

Just hours before Dad left us, he was still in
perfect control. In fact, his departing thoughts and
statements have implanted themselves into our
hearts forever. He prayed over us and shared one
final time his joy in knowing that we were all there
to strengthen one another in family communion
and love.

Finally, the doctor with whom my father had
shared his faith and the love of God for seven years
informed us that Dad would be gone before the
day ended. The nurses who had tenderly cared for
him placed a soft, white lambskin under his body
to ease the excruciating pain and through tears
expressed their sorrow at losing him. They knew
Dad well on that floor of the hospital and had come
to love him.

Resting on the Lamb

As we sat around Dad, praying, remembering
him, loving him, and clinging to the Lord and each
other for strength, I looked up and beheld my
father resting on that lambskin. “Oh, look at
Daddy,” I exclaimed. “How symbolic of what is
occurring. He is resting on the Lamb!”

At 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 24, 1981, Dad
left us for the home he had reserved as just a
young boy. He had opened his heart to Jesus
Christ in an evangelistic meeting and never
doubted his eternal destiny thereafter.

Dad’s departure into eternity, infinity, and the
presence of the Lord was profound and sacred to
each of us as my mother, my brothers, and I held
his hands and touched his face one last time. How
privileged I was to personally witness the faith,
strength, and tranquillity God supplies to His
children when they pass through the valley of the
shadow of death. How satisfying it is for me to
know that one day very soon — perhaps today — I
will see Dad again. He was the one who had taught
me how to live, and he so beautifully taught me
how to die.

Every time I think of Easter and the resurrection
of Jesus Christ, I think not only of His
resurrection, but the promise He gave that all those who
have trusted in Him will be resurrected one day,
too. If the Word of God will not stand up in our
times of deepest need, what good is it?

But it does stand! I know personally, from my
own experience.

The truth of Christ’s resurrection was sufficient
for my father. It is sufficient for me. And if you
have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, it is
sufficient for you.

I’m so happy that I have this assurance, and I’d
like to leave you with this challenging question —