Have you ever, ever wondered if heaven is for real? Ever had a dream about a loved one who passed away and he/she appeared or were the central figure in your dream? Did you remember how real that person was or that you woke up startled? HEAVEN IS FOR REAL – A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent is about one such experience.
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL centers around little Colton Burpo who at age three suffers near death when his appendix ruptures and he underwent an emergency appendectomy. While he is being operated on Colton ends up in heaven. The author makes a point to acknowledge that according to the medical results he [Colton] didn’t die. “He never ceased breathing. His heart had never stopped.” After he recovers he starts to tell his parents about his visit.
Over the years, many people have recounted and numerous books have been written on this subject, so what make this one special? Childlike innocence and the consistency of the message over time. These two things set the stage for his story. Most children have a fantastic imagination, they even have imaginary friends and imaginary experiences, and if they trust you they will often share them with you. One thing to note is that many children have not yet learned the adult “art” of lying. With that being said, let’s say for the sake of argument that he did visit heaven.
Colton described situations and people with great detail. He meets his great-grandfather “Pops” who died before he was born, and an older sister that he never knew because his mother had miscarried early in her pregnancy; but more importantly he met Jesus. He described Jesus with the enthusiasm and excitement that only a child can share with us. Colton’s dad, Todd asked him how did he know which one was Jesus. He told his father about the “markers” on Jesus’ hands and feet. He figured out that the “markers” were the nail wounds.
Did he go to heaven? According to him, he did. Interestingly enough his father, a pastor, found it hard to believe that his son had not only visited heaven but had met Jesus. His mother started to believe only after once he asked about his “other” sister. As the Bible says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1). Colton’s parents had to now practice what they preached.
THOUGHTS for your SOUL:
- It’s good to be strong and able to bless others. But we [Colton’s parents] learned the value of being vulnerable enough to let others be strong for us, to let others bless us. That, it turned out, was a blessing to them as well.”
- “God knows where He puts our children, in each family…God can reach anyone, anywhere, at my age – even a preschool girl in a home where His name had never been spoken.”
I had just finished reading the part of the book where Todd shows Colton a youthful picture of his great-grandfather and he recognized him and Todd said to himself that “no one is old in heaven.” I closed the book briefly and thought about relatives that had passed away. Then suddenly my phone rang and caller id read that it the widow of a close relative. I hadn’t spoken to this person since the funeral; which was over three years ago. However, there was no one on the other end. Nothing but static on the line. I just hung up, too stunned about what had just happened. It wouldn’t have seemed odd if it had happened at any other time than when it did. Coincidence? Maybe.
In today’s society we have the need to be the first one to crack the code, prove everyone else wrong, and/or over analyze every situation or circumstance. Is it really that important? For those who believe in God it is, for the rest it is a moot point. The bigger story is that Colton believed that he visited heaven for a short period of time and what he spoke of confirmed that to family members. Because of his experience he “had [for one dying friend] become a messenger, a tiny tour guide for a departing heavenly traveler.” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5-6, NKJV).
Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates HEAVEN IS FOR REAL as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs.)…just the right mixture of content and pages.