Sunday, January 20, 2013
REVIEW: Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo
Author: Todd Burpo
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: November, 2010
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Description: "Do you remember the hospital, Colton?" Sonja said. "Yes, mommy, I remember," he said. "That's where the angels sang to me."
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed--a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy's trip to heaven and back.
Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery-and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.
With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how "really, really big" God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton's uniquely simple words, "Heaven Is for Real" offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, "Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses."
"Heaven Is for Real" will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.
My Thoughts: This book was amazing! The author, a pastor and Colton's father, shares with us his son's amazing journey to Heaven and back. This book doesn't feel preachy or judgmental. Instead, I got a very good sense of the fear and anxiety any parent would feel over their child's serious illness and their frustration at not being able to fix it.
I appreciated Todd Burpo's open and frank retelling of his frustration leading to getting angry at God and yelling at God. We can all relate to him feeling this way as we all tend to want to lash out our anger during situations we cannot control. I felt a lot of empathy for the Burpo family after the numerous medical challenges Todd had already faced, they now had to face the very scary fear that their only son could die.
The feelings of empathy turned to feelings of amazement when Colton makes a miraculous recovery, though his family still does not know the extent of what Colton went through, beyond the medical procedures. It isn't until on a family trip several months later that Colton begins to share with his family the extraordinary experience he had when he went to Heaven, met Jesus, met God, met his great-grandfather who passed away before he was born, met his sister who had been miscarried before Colton was born and even sees Satan. Colton relays these occurrences to his shocked family in a very innocent and guileless matter-of-fact manner only a child could convey.
My favorite passage in the book is when Colton is telling his parents that Jesus asked the angels to sing to him because he was scared and his father asks him what the angels sang to him.
Colton turned his eyes up and to the right, the attitude of remembering. "Well, they sang 'Jesus Loves Me' and 'Joshua Fought The Battle Of Jericho,'" he said earnestly. "I asked them to sing 'We Will, We Will Rock You,' but they wouldn't sing that."
Colton is a brave little boy who touched my heart and will touch yours. His faith and belief is awe inspiring in it's sweet innocence that reminds us to shed our adult cynical thinking and embrace our beliefs with a child-like joy and abandon.
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