Monday, May 30, 2011

Heaven is for Real

Heaven is for Real
By:  Todd Burpo
ISBN: 9780849949203
Published November 2, 2010 by Nelson, Thomas
Available format: Hardcover, Paperback, ebook, Audiobook

My Rating: ★★★★★

Heaven is for Real is a true story of a four-year-old boy from small-town Imperial, Nebraska.  Written by his father, a pastor, the book describes the revelation of Colton’s travels to Heaven during a terrifying emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix.  When Colton begins revealing details and facts he could not have possibly known about or fully understood, his parents had no other choice but to believe that Colton was indeed in the presence of God.  Often expressed in Colton's own words, the captivatingly simple message is:  Heaven for real, Jesus does really love children, and be prepared, the last battle is coming.

I was raised in a Christian home, attending church from the time I was just a few weeks old.  I accepted Jesus into my heart at the age of eight.  Although, I consider myself a pretty open-minded, tolerant person, I still hold onto the fundamental beliefs and morals with which I was raised.  I take my children to church, pray, volunteer in a Christian ministry, and maintain a strong relationship with God.  I even minored in religion in college, which surprisingly strengthened my conviction.  But, there are some things that are still hard for me to accept with unwavering faith.  Heaven is one of those things—something that I “know” is there but cannot in any way even begin to wrap my head around.  Deep down, I know that is because Heaven, God, the end of time, etc. are all things that are just not at all confined to our limited human understanding.  In some ways you might even call me skeptical.  It was with that skeptical mindset that I began reading this book recommended by my best friends. 

I settled in bed late Saturday night and thought I’d just go ahead and get started on it.  A few hours later, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I closed the book, in tears and with an overwhelming sense of awe.  First of all, even though it is obvious in the first chapter Colton survives his illness, I was gripped with terror as his father described the events that unfolded during those few weeks.  I know being a mother makes those things more difficult, because it is so much easier for us to imagine something like that happening to our own children.  As he moved on to the realization that something remarkable happened to Colton during his surgery, I was both amazed and uncomfortable.  I could not help but think in the back of my mind, “Well, this boy is a preacher’s son.  Maybe he has a really great imagination, and the parents just took things the wrong way.”  It soon became evident that Colton just knew too many things for it to have been simply imagined.  He knew what his parents were doing during his surgery, he met his miscarried sister, and his great-grandfather who had passed thirty years prior introduced himself.  Also, much of his childish description of Heaven and its inhabitants aligned itself perfectly with scripture. 

There are so many little details that were just astounding, but I must insist that you read this book for yourself!  I know that many unbelievers will be able to easily shun the message this little boy was blessed to share.  As a believer, I can only hope that there will be some who may be enlightened and encouraged, regardless of personal beliefs or convictions.

I was about halfway through the book when my three-year-old daughter tiptoed into the room and crawled in bed with me.  She began chatting with me a little, and then pointed to the cover of the book.

Who is that?” she asked.

A little boy.”

I like him.  What’s his name?”

Colton.  When Colton was about your age, he got very sick and he got to go play with Jesus for a little while.”

She stopped with a very serious look on her face.  A moment later, she smiled really big and said, “Jesus loves me!

I think our children are much closer to Jesus and understand so much more than we could even hope to know.  If they can so enthusiastically believe in God’s absolute love for us, then why can’t we?