Heaven is for Real – A Review

Am I the last person on earth to read this book?
Probably. It’s too bad it took me so long to get around to it!

I’ve been wanting to read Heaven is for Real since I first heard about it about four years ago. I was fortunate enough to see the movie in theaters when it first came out, and I loved it. You know the book has got to be amazing if the movie its based on is so good, there probably wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Well, this book didn’t disappoint. In fact, I read it in two days.

Todd Burpo was just a normal guy living in a small Nebraska town. He was a pastor, wrestling coach, volunteer fireman, softball player, husband, and father trying to keep up with the demands of life, as we all do.

Until life happens, that is.

When Todd’s son, Colton, begins throwing up on a family vacation, Todd and his wife, Sonja, think its just the return of a previous bought with the stomach bug. But, when Colton doesn’t get better, the Burpo parents take their son to the hospital. After being misdiagnosed, Colton is taken to another hospital where it is discovered his appendix had burst five days before.

Colton Burpo was dying.

Waiting through the torturous moments when their son is in emergency surgery, Todd and Sonja are left with one question – Why? Why would God allow their son to suffer and possibly die when He could see that they were good people trying to do His work?

We’ve all been told that God has a purpose for everything. And the Burpos’ testimony is the prime example of how true this statement is.

Colton survives the surgery, and after he recovers, he begins to tell his parents of an experience he had while on the operating table. The blonde-headed little boy, only four years old, speaks of meeting Jesus, hearing angels sing, and seeing the throne room of God. This, of course, catches Todd and Sonja off guard, but as they realize what their son has experienced, they are blown away by the prospect that their son has experienced the place of each Christians’ eternal reward.

Of all the paintings he has seen of Jesus, Colton Burpo says this one looks the most like Him. This painting, “Prince of Peace,” was painted by eight-year-old Akiana Kramarik, pictured here.

This book chronicles the years following Colton’s miraculous recovery as Todd and Sonja learn from their son, piece-by-piece, what awaits God’s children in Heaven. It is a testament to the goodness of God and a perfect example of the power of childlike faith. God uses those who, on earth, seem like “the least of these” to communicate to us the most powerful truths. He made a four-year-old boy his mouthpiece to stir up the hope we Christians have in our Savior’s promise to take us to the place he has prepared for us.

Of course, some people have asked, “How do you know this isn’t a hoax? This little boy could have made it all up.”

As Todd shows the reader, Colton knew about things that he had not experienced on earth. For example, he met his sister, who had been miscarried almost two years before Colton was born. Todd and Sonja had never told their son about their lost child, but Colton told them that he had met his dark-headed sister while in heaven. Additionally, Colton was only four-years-old at the time he experienced heaven, too young to know the theological guidelines of heaven outlined in the Bible, and thus too young to make up such a Biblically accurate account of our eternal home. Todd provides scriptural evidence to support each of Colton’s statements about heaven, which further solidifies the account. Here, Colton discusses who he met in heaven, and Sonja Burpo talks about what it meant to her to learn about her miscarried daughter.

I think we have all feared death at some point in our lives. We are so scared to leave what we know for a place we’ve never been. But, after reading this book, you may never fear death again. The little boy who experienced heaven sets an example for all of us. Todd tells of a time when Colton had run off into a parking lot after coming out of a store. Upon catching him, Todd points out to his son a dead bunny rabbit, the unfortunate victim of a car’s front tires. Todd explains to his son, “That’s what can happen if you run out and a car doesn’t see you! You could not only get hurt; you could die!” To which Colton replies:

“Oh, good! That means I get to go back to heaven!”

Wow. That right there sums it all up. Because what could be better than getting to be in the eternal presence of our Savior and Lord?

Colton Burpo’s story is one of hope – hope in the promises of God and His goodness and a true reminder that “He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

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