Heaven is for Real Book Review
A Brief Heaven is for Real Book Review
So why do a Heaven is for Real book review on a site that’s about encouraging Bible verses? Well, if you’re like me you’re not only interested in reading the good news in the Bible, but you’re also interested in reading encouraging testimonies from other Christians about how God has worked in their lives.
I have to admit that it took me a while to get around to reading this short but powerful book. My wife had recommended Heaven is for Real to me after borrowing it from a co-worker. After also hearing positive things about it from others I decided to pick it up and give it a read over the Christmas holidays.
And, was I glad I did. The story is, in many ways, a lighter reflection of the same themes found in The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven. Interestingly, both books were originally published in 2010, and both boys (Colton Burpo and Alex Malarkey) relate experiences with heaven and meeting God that are startlingly parallel in their recollection.
I’ll review The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven in a later post, because in my opinion it’s just as powerful an account of a child’s experiences with God and heaven as is Heaven is for Real. For this post and review however, I’ll stick with relating my impressions of the latter book.
A Synopsis of Heaven is for Real
In March 2003, four-year old Colton Burpo suffered a ruptured appendix that was misdiagnosed, causing his body to go septic and bringing him dangerously close to death. After an emergency surgery to repair the rupture and clean out his abdominal cavity of the infection, he recovered and returned to his family, and soon began recounting memories and experiences that indicated he had visited heaven during his surgery.
Although Colton’s dad Todd Burpo readily admits that the medical record from the hospital shows no indication Colton “died” during surgery, it is quite apparent from the story related by Mr. Burpo that at times the medical staff doubted he would make it. According to the timeline presented in the book, Colton spent several days with a ruptured appendix dumping infected body fluids into his abdominal cavity, a life-threatening situation to say the least. Although there was no indication to the hospital staff that he was clinically dead at any time during surgery, it’s apparent that his life was hanging in the balance during the surgery.
I’d rather not spoil the book for you if you haven’t read it by giving you too many details regarding the experiences Colton related to his parents in the months and years following his brush with death. However, I will say that the story and details related by Colton are certainly well beyond the bounds of what a person would expect a four-year old boy to be able to manufacture. And, certain of the details in his account relate directly to obscure bits of Bible scripture that no four-year old would be likely to know.
In addition, Colton recounts meeting his deceased great-grandfather. When shown a picture of his great-grandfather that was taken shortly before he passed on, he failed to recognize him. However, his parents procured a photo of Colton’s great-grandfather when he was a young man, and without any prompting or hints whatsoever he recognized “Pop” instantly. This is just one of many such experiences Mr. Burpo recounts in the book that certainly give credence to the Burpo’s account.
So What Can We Take Away From Colton’s Story?
First off, I highly recommend that you read the book, if only to read Mr. Burpo’s account of how God answered his prayer. Yet, beyond that I believe it’s a reliable account of a young man who was blessed with a glimpse of heaven before his time. For a believing Christian, it’s incredibly encouraging to read of such accounts when they are filtered through the lens of scripture and found to be in keeping with what the Bible tells us of heaven and God.
After reading this book and Alex Malarkey’s story I was both encouraged and uplifted by the way both boys relate the majesty of heaven and what it must be like to be in God’s presence. Surely words cannot do such an experience justice, but even a small glimpse of heaven seen “through a glass, darkly” is enough to encourage believing Christians regarding the majesty of heaven that we will one day experience firsthand.
That’s it for my Heaven is for Real book review; I found it to be an enjoyable and encouraging story of how God answered prayer in the most amazing way for a young boy and his family.