Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Book Review: 90 Minutes in Heaven
Alas, their drums were for the X-Box 360 system (which we already have, both the system and the drums - in Bryce's room and thereby, mostly off-limits). I went to a few more garage sales in that area, hoping to make my drive worthwhile. At the last sale, I found something to make-up for the wasted mileage. I bought the book, 90 Minutes in Heaven, by Don Piper. (Plus, Trevor found a broken necklace which he insisted on buying for a dime because it looked like a shark tooth - hee-hee.)
I had heard of this book back when I was reading the outstanding book, Heaven is for Real. I will say that while both books are good and both books affirm the existence of heaven, Heaven is for Real is better written and more extensive in the discussion of what went on for the individual who went to heaven briefly. Still, this was a valuable book to read.
In 90 Minutes in Heaven, Don Piper tells of his fatal car accident which took place on a bridge in Texas. His car was hit by a truck driven by a prison inmate. The car was basically flattened and pinned against the bridge (if it had taken place moments earlier or later, he would have drowned in his car). Don Piper was torn up pretty badly, with limbs barely hanging on and sections of bone missing (apparently thrown from the car upon impact). With no pulse, and looking horrific, the EMTs declared him dead.
After a period of time, a fellow minister (who had been at the very pastoral conference Don was returning from) stopped and walked to the scene. This minister felt deeply convicted that the Lord was asking him to pray for the man in the mangled car. Thus, despite the assurances from medics on the scene that the man in the vehicle was already dead, this minister climbed into the back of the car and reached a hand onto Don's shoulder and began fervently praying for him. He prayed specifically that there would be no internal injuries.
Suddenly, in the midst of praying, Don began to join the minister in singing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Don explains his brief time in heaven as the most glorious thing he has ever experienced and how crushed he was to have to return to his body and resume life on earth, despite his love for his family. He honestly shares how frustrating his recovery was, full of pain and selfish resentment towards his losses. It took him quite some time to work through his unwillingness to let others help him, his impatience with the pain of recovery and his bewildering depression as he attempted to discern why the Lord had brought him back down to earth instead of allowing him to remain in heaven. The book is more an argument for God's purpose in our earthly time and our unexplained suffering than it is a treatise on what heaven will be like. It made me boldly aware that the Lord has a purpose for my life and that I should be pursuing that purpose and allowing Him to teach through whatever difficulties I encounter.
Like others, I didn't really need a book to make me believe in heaven because I already have firm convictions about the existence of God and His glorious throne and our final destination as believers. However, it was very affirming to read about the author's experience of heaven because it brought joy to my heart to consider the overwhelmingly intense sights and sounds which await us in heaven. It was wonderful to read that we will be greeted by loved ones who have gone before.
The timing in reading this book couldn't have been more appropriate. My aunt Sherry past away the very day that I finished reading the book. She was a believer and I revel in the thought of her greeting my grandparents and others and meeting the Lord face-to-face. What a glorious reunion! What a joy to anticipate! Death is nothing to be feared when one has a relationship with Jesus Christ, for we will walk the streets of gold and sing praises to our Maker.