Now and Forever

by Barb Shelton



(This was written

about 3 years after my brother passed away.)


My brother, John, a year younger than me, died at the age of 38 of cancer. I was 39.  I, my mom, two of my sisters, Pat and Kathy, and our cousin Naomi who was like a sister to John, were there throughout the night that he died. It was an experience I will never forget!  Together, we had the privilege of ushering him into Jesus' arms!  But let me back up...

There had been a rift between John and me. I had wanted to take care of it, as in discuss it, come to an understanding between us about it, and then clear the air, but because he so suddenly went downhill, I never got to mend it...


Only thirteen days before John died did we find out that his body was full of cancer, and very "terminal." We had no idea how long he would live, but didn't expect it to be so soon. For the most part, John needed to stay in a hospital bed my parents had rented for him and put in a spare room at their home. One day in particular, I went in to chat with him with this matter of wanting to get things right between us on the top of my mind. But the time just didn't seem right. He was in much pain, and I gave him a backrub, but I never felt the timing was right to bring up our differences. That would have seemed like I was taking care of "final business," and although we all knew his cancer was terminal (unless God healed him), he didn't seem "bad" enough for death to be eminent. Taking care of such matters seemed almost like inviting death, or making too big a deal of his "terminalness." 


He was totally coherent until the very last evening. I had one other opportunity to talk with him, but someone came into the room just as I was getting up my nerve. 


So John went to be with Jesus without a word said between us about our differences and hurts. This "unfinished business" could have lurked around the dark corners of my mind haunting me for the rest of my life, and would have had God not done for me what He has done. But since John's death, He has given me three "revelations" in ways I never expected, and that have tremendously blessed me with peace of mind. In fact, they have completely erased "The Rift"...

The first was a scripture verse: "But we know this, that when we see Him, we will be like Him, for we will see Him face-to-face!" God brought this to my mind one day and held it like a light over John's and my breached relationship. He spoke to me, through this verse, that John sees Jesus face to face right at this very moment!  Therefore John also now knows and understands every single issue and difference that were between us, exactly where my heart was (which he had misunderstood), because Jesus has now revealed all truth to him. I John 3:1 says "But we know this, that when we see Jesus, we will be like Him, for we will see Him face to face."  This means that John now sees and loves me with God's heart, not with his own earthly understanding or love because, as that verse states, seeing Jesus, he is like Him.

I have also had two separate "visions" of John during worship times...  In one of them we were singing about "worshipping at His footstool" and I saw John sitting at the feet of Jesus. There were others around Him, too, though I "saw" only John, all just enjoying His presence, kind of "hanging" on His legs like kids do around "Grandpa." They were all completely "at home" with Him, playful, yet, at the same time, enraptured by whatever Jesus was saying and totally in awe of Him. Love bathed and emanated from the scene. Then, as I was watching John, from behind and to his right, (I never "saw" Jesus' face; just His big white-robed lap), John turned and looked at me with a loving, glowing smile that said "Everything's OK! See - I'm with Jesus!  It's so good here!  I'm having a ball!  I wish you were here!"  And I knew he meant it.

In the other "vision," we were singing the song "Eternity" at church. (We had this song sung at John's funeral.) The words are actually intended to be sung to God, and that's how I normally sing it, but this time John came to mind. I started singing them to him, and felt he was singing them to me at the same time:
           "I will be yours, you will be mine; together in eternity.
                Our hearts of love will be entwined, forever in eternity.
           No more tears of pain in our eyes; no more fear of shame,
                For we (I) will be with You; yes, we (I) will be with You..." 

Then, as I was looking up at the front of the church where the worship team was playing, I "saw" a huge curtain.  Then saw that it pulled apart in the middle just far enough to show John standing in the opening, with lovely, strong, and brilliant rays of light streaming out from behind him, but he was emanating light as well. In fact, the first thing I noticed was how glowingly healthy he was!  His skin color was beautiful!  This was particularly noticeable to me because John's skin had become increasingly grayish and sickly looking during his last months with the cancer and diabetes. Again he was looking at me with great love in his eyes, radiating to me, drawing me to him and warming me inside at the same time.  His look spoke to me, without audible words, yet with all the "words" I needed, that he loved me, was having a glorious time with Jesus, and that the only thing between him and me having complete and joyous communion was my physical body. Once that's been shed, we will be reunited!

Oh how I look forward to that day! And what a precious gift from God that my remaining days on earth will no longer be overshadowed with the sadness and frustration of the broken relationship we had when he left here!




I got the starry background at:



I got the angels at:


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