Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review: Heaven is for Real

A couple of months ago, while browsing through a local Christian bookstore, I found this book & was intrigued by the description on the cover. Heaven is for Real is about a little boy, barely 4 years old, who dies on the operating table & makes a 3 minute trip to Heaven before he wakes up from anesthesia. I decided not to buy it that day due to the cost of the book & the lack of funds in my bank account, but I was hoping to come home & find it on or amazon (used). No such luck. The book was new enough that no one had a cheaper copy available yet. I decided to wait it out & find a copy later. Soon after that, I started seeing posts on Facebook by friends who were reading it. Everyone raved about it. I decided a couple weeks ago to put my network of friends on Facebook to good use & see if anyone had a copy I could borrow! Bingo! Within a couple hours, I had found a copy! THANK YOU ANGIE!!

As predicted by all my friends, I sat down with the book last night & read it all within a few hours. I had to stop about halfway through to go to the grocery store, but then came home & got back to reading. And they were all right---the book is fabulous!

:::spoiler alert --- I'm about to give away details from throughout the whole book, so if you haven't read it & want to, don't read beyond this point!:::

In this book, Colton Burpo, a healthy little boy began complaining of stomach pain and spent a couple of days vomitting. Doctors ruled out anything serious & told his parents it was just a really bad stomach virus. After watching him throw up 'round the clock for nearly a week, they checked him out of the hospital & went to a larger children's hospital for a 2nd opinion. They found out he had a ruptured appendix, and it had been leaking poison into his system (by this time) for 5 days! The first doctor was wrong! The doctor took him in for emergency surgery, but couldn't give his parents any hope for their extremely sick little boy. (You find out later in the book that the doctor & nurses didn't expect Colton to survive. But he did!) After recovering from the surgery for a full week, Colton & his parents were in the elevator, leaving the hospital, when the doctor ran to the elevator doors & stopped them. Tests showed that Colton's white count was VERY high all of the sudden, which indicated that he had further infection in his tummy & they needed go back in to "clean out" what was in there. They found a large absess in surgery. Again, things got very bad, but Colton survived.

That's when things get interesting. In little bit & pieces, off & on for several YEARS, Colton tells his parents about things that at first strike them as very odd, then intrigue them. Initially they felt like Colton had an angelic visit during his surgery....then they realize that he knows things about thing that occurred while he was in surgery....then he tells them that he came up out of his body & watched the doctor working on him and saw where they were & what they were doing and begins relaying stories of Heaven. When he begins describing Heaven, they realize that he must've died on the surgical table, even though the doctor's reports don't state anything about any physical signs of him dying.

side note:
For many years, I thought people who related "near death experiences" were nuts! I felt like they were feeding off the other stories they'd heard & were just saying it all for money or fame. I still find it hard to reconcile logically, but I can't help but be amazed by their stories. Over the years, I've come to understand how many things about faith & trust in Christ require us to let go of LOGICAL explanations & just trust Him. I believe this is another one of those things.

Several years ago I read the book 90 Minutes in Heaven. I read it as my own personal way of proving to myself that these people were crazy! I felt like it would help me say "
Ha! See? You're a loon! That didn't really happen!" but what actually happened was that I was further convinced that it's real! And after reading Heaven is for Real, I find it very interesting that the main characters in these books describe so many things in the exact same way! If I was still doubting, it would be hard to deny that two people years apart in age could possibly describe the same things they saw on their trips to Heaven!

Colton relays stories to his parents about people he met while in Heaven....John the Baptist, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, a great-grandfather who died 25 years before Colton was born, a miscarried baby sister that his parents had never told him about....

It was after he relayed information he could've never known without having experiencing it himself that his parents finally began sharing his story with other people. The daughter of that great-grandfather relished hearing the story about her father's presence in Heaven...a question she had long worried about -- did her dad go to heaven? Now she knew!

It became a family 'game' of sorts to find pictures of Jesus (paintings, pictures in books, etc) and show Colton to see if they looked like the real Jesus. For several years after his trip to Heaven, they found them & showed them to him. In each one, he could point out something that wasn't too long, eyes, shape of the face, etc. Quite a few years later, another little girl became well known for the stories she was telling her mother about a trip to Heaven she'd made while very sick. When Colton's dad read about it & heard that she had created a painting of Jesus, he called Colton into the room to show it to him on his computer screen. He did not tell him anything about who painted it or what her story was. He simply pulled the picture up on the screen and said "What's wrong with this one?" and for the first time since everything had happened, Colton went silent & stared at the picture and said "That one's right, dad. That's Him."

I'm telling you folks, Heaven is for Real!

Check out the book HERE.


George said...

No pic of Jesus?

Kimberly said...

Great review Liz! I agree with everything you said. Can't wait to read this one! Love your love for great books.

SandyL said...

A friend of mine read this book and recommended it to me so its on my list too. We love books that really encourage us that we will see our children again...