I'm a little embarrassed to say Heaven is For Real is not a book I would have picked up in the bookstore. Oh wait--I DID pick this up in the bookstore. But, only because my hair stylist had just told me all about it. I decided that day in the salon's black vinyl chair, that I was heading straight for Books A Million as soon as my hair was beautiful. As my stylist told me a little about this book, I actually got tears in my eyes. Okay, I cried a little bit. (But, don't tell anybody) I figured any book that can make me cry when hearing about it, is worth reading.
Now, don't worry--I promise not to give any major secrets away, in case you want to read it!
If you look closely at the cover of the book, you get an idea of the premise of the book, "A little boy's astounding story of his trip to Heaven and back."
That statement is why I probably wouldn't have picked up this book in a bookstore. Maybe I'm a little jaded. But, I've never wanted to read any of the "I died and went to Heaven, but then came back to life to tell you all about it" kind of books. This book seems different than those other books appear to me. Granted, I have not read those other books--so feel free to contradict me! But, those books seem to focus on the experience of the author, including just a few details about Heaven. Little Colton Burpo's experiences in Heaven is for Real seem to focus on Heaven, Jesus, God, and even John the Baptist. At least, that was my main impression as I was reading--I started thinking specifically about Jesus and how wonderful Heaven will be someday.
I also loved that Colton's Heavenly experiences weren't the flashy climax of his story. His story, which his dad writes for him, is about how Colton's entire family was strengthened and encouraged. Over time, Colten reveals to his mom and dad life-changing details (for them) about two specific people he met in Heaven. This is the same way Colten tells about all of his experiences in Heaven--slowly, and over time. (Isn't that the way we always get information out of little children?) "Seeing" these details through the eyes of a 4-year-old is exactly how my jaded brain needs to see them--with the simple faith of a child.
The reason I cried in the salon's black vinyl chair that day, and the reason I wanted to read this little 150-page book in the first place, was that it made me consider Heaven in a concrete terms. I pictured how much Jesus must love me, as I read about Jesus holding little Colton in his lap in Heaven. And when I got to the part where Colton tells his dad about Jesus' eyes, I just lost it, "And his eyes...oh, Dad, his eyes are so pretty!"
Never before have I thought about Jesus' eyes. But, I do now. Reading this book made me realize that I will LOOK INTO HIS EYES someday, and He will look into mine.
Now, I am not guaranteeing that Colton Burpo's story is true. That's not for me to judge. But, I will tell you this: Reading his story made me think about Jesus and Heaven, and my own spiritual journey in a tangible way.
And anything that makes me think about Heavenly things is not bad at all!
What do YOU think about "I died and went to Heaven, and then came back" stories?
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