Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book H: Fabookulous January 31, 2011

Heaven is for Real (A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back) by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

Book description:

A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.

Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn’t know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how “reaaally big” God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power” from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton’s own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

Recommended to me by a friend, this is the story of young Colton’s visit to heaven, as described to his parents. For those familiar with similar stories, it’s reminiscent of 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. I’ve not read that one (I was skeptical of it) but this one is a similar concept. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this book. Let me try to explain.

On one hand I don’t think I believe the story and there are a few reasons why. First, Colton was a young three years old when this experience happened and kids like to tell stories. They’ll improvise and make up scenarios while they play and they’ll create ideas in their heads. I’m skeptical about believing one could actually GO to heaven and then come back to this Earth. Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that no eye has seen? That it’s a beauty our minds can’t imagine? Wouldn’t that be anti-climactic to see heaven in all its glory at a young three years of age, and then have the rest of your life here on this Earth? The concept is a tough sell on me.

On the other hand, we ARE called to have minds like children. And to be frank, people didn’t believe Jesus in his day either. The things Colton describes (the gates of heaven, who he saw while there, what God looks like and that Jesus sits on the right side of Him) are all things in the Bible, but things Colton hadn’t learned yet in his Sunday school class. It’s an interesting concept, this idea of a young boy seeing heaven, and one you have to choose to believe or not…

As for the way the story was written, I got kind of frustrated. When remembering another detail Colton would share about heaven, author Burpo always had to describe the next reaction. For example, Colton says something to the effect of “I saw Pop there” (Colton’s late grandfather) and Burpo would say something about how he had a hard time driving on the road after that and he could hear the hum of the tires. I’m actually laughing out loud because I realize I’m not describing this very well. But the way Burpo explained his reactions to Colton’s revelations kind of got old after a while, making the story feel like it was dragging out (and it’s a short book!)

After all is said in done, this was book H for the year and it’s time to move on to another letter of the alphabet…

2/5 stars


Up next: Decision Points by George W. Bush (at a whopping 518 pages, I’ll be taking my time through this one…stay tuned!)


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