A few weeks ago I began hearing about the book, “Heaven is for Real”, written by Todd Burpo. Todd is the pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, Nebraska. I was initially interested in the book simply because a fellow Wesleyan Pastor was published and apparently the book was gaining in popularity. When I read the description of the book, I knew I needed to get a hold of it sooner-than-later.
Late last night I was reading through my Twitter feed and saw that one of my buddies about 3/4 of the way through the book and was obviously impacted by what he was reading. I made the decision to buy the book through my Amazon Kindle app on my Android phone and literally within seconds I was reading. A sample-chapter of the book is available if you’re interested.
The story follows the Burpo family through months of trying times all culminating with their 3-year-old son Colton’s appendix bursting and his near-death. A few months after this incident, while on a family-trip, Colton began to reveal that during his surgery he actually visited Heaven. The details with which Colton described his time in Heaven are absolutely incredible. I am grateful to the Burpo family for allowing readers to be brought into this incredible story.
As I read the book, there were a few times where I literally dropped my phone to my chest (was reading it on my Kindle app) and gasped in disbelief. I was in awe at how the details continued to be revealed to the family as Colton continued to let them in on his experience in Heaven.
Personally, Colton’s story drew me back to an experience I had with my older sister Stacia while she was still here and suffering through her bout with cancer. On a Sunday afternoon with her eyes still shut she exclaimed to those of us in her hospital room that she “saw stairs”. I cannot recall exactly how much time lapsed, but I believe it was over the next couple of hours she gave us a play-by-play of her experience of visiting Heaven. She was twelve years old. I remember instantly-interpreting her description of what she was seeing and being fascinated that God was giving her a glimpse of her eternal home. She mentioned meeting family members that she did not know here on earth. I remember her getting quiet for some time and then exclaiming loudly, “I found the babies!” as we all quickly returned to her bedside for the update on what she was experiencing. It was after that experience that my sister had a new-found peace in being ready to leave this world for her eternal home with Jesus. That experience has left indelible marks upon my heart.
When I think about ‘visions of Heaven’, I can’t help but be skeptical. I approach these kinds of things with hazy glasses – wondering how much of any account can be trusted as a genuine source or actual testimony. Much of the Christian world does the same. We’re even quick to quote passages like 1 Corinthians 2:9 – But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” When we do this, we make the mistake that we do more often than not of taking the Bible out of context. In the very next verse (10), the Apostle Paul writes, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” This gives me assurance that indeed God does reveal some of these “hidden” things by His Spirit. And as we look at the whole of Scripture we see picture-after-picture of the glory and awe that awaits the faithful who find rest in eternity.
I don’t know what parts of the Heaven-visions in Scripture or in accounts like “Heaven is for Real” are symbolic or literal, but God’s Word is not cryptic in revealing that Heaven and Hell are real places and are the only two options when we leave this earth.
“Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” is an excellent book. It is well-written and provides a fascinating inside-peak into the lives and experiences of the Burpo family as they experienced the supernatural. I highly recommend reading the book and from experience can say that it is nearly impossible to put down.
Have you read the book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!