Friday, April 8, 2011
Book Review: Heaven is for Real
I'm a sucker for a cute little blond boy! Thus, when my husband called me over to the computer to read some news blurb about a book featuring an adorable little boy who tells of visiting heaven for a few minutes during a life-threatening surgery, I took note. Not long after, I found myself in a bookstore where the book was on sale. There is a hold line 20 people long waiting for this book from my library's holding, so I snatched it up. Frankly, I cannot wait to pass it on (first, to my mother).
Todd Burpo is a pastor at a small rural church in Nebraska. In his book, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, he shares the family's pain and anxiety as their three year old son, Colton, battled what was misdiagnosed as a severe case of the flu. Indeed, the pint sized cutie (who graces the cover) had actually suffered a ruptured appendix.
Several months after this harrowing event took place (involving an emergency appendectomy and a thirteen day hospital stay), Colton began to speak of his trip to heaven. The details this little boy offered up not only supported what Scripture says about heaven, but also gave personal encouragement to his family (information on other loved ones he encountered and God's sending of strength to Colton's parents as he struggled). The book is a quick, compelling read, but it provides a glimpse few of us have been privileged to receive of the splendor that awaits in heaven for those who are "called according to His purpose." It also reminds us that there is a very real spiritual warfare going on in our midst that we are often oblivious to because it is occurring on a plane we cannot observe while in our earthly bodies.
I believe I responded most significantly to the story Colton gives of encountering his "other sister." At the time, his parents had never informed him of the miscarried baby between Cassie's and Colton's births. Yet, Colton assured his mother that his nameless sister has been adopted by God himself. Anyone who has lost a child will continue to think about them. I found it so reassuring to think of my own miscarried baby being adopted by God the Father in Heaven and anxiously awaiting our reunion.
I think what surprised me the most, upon reading this book and then several reviews listed on the Amazon website, was the general skepticism people carry regarding the actual existence of heaven. Todd Burpo himself writes of his own skepticism when hearing Colton's responses. Several pastors reviewing the book claimed skepticism at the outset. Others, denouncing the idea of Christianity considered it to be an entertaining "novel." I found myself thinking, "People will swallow hook-line-and-sinker the theory that we evolved from an ape and yet they cannot entertain the idea that there is a parallel spiritual dimension in which great battles are ensuing and leading to a final confrontation between heaven and hell."
As for me, I believe ... Heaven IS for REAL!