Jul 14, 12
I found this book an inspiring, easy read. The author effectively draws the reader into the unfolding drama. We don't learn all the moving details at once but a little at a time, just as the author and his wife learned them.
The author, Todd Burpo a Christian pastor describes the trauma of his son, Colton almost losing his life due to severe appendicitis that struck a few months prior to his fourth birthday. The father talks of his heartbreak and his angry prayer to God when Colton had apparently reached the end of his life.
But then the boy began to recover and several days later was back home. Over time, some unusual comments the son made astonished the parents, who began to realize much more had happened than was readily apparent. While on the operating room, Colton had visited heaven. He gradually provided vivid details that agree with scripture, information he had no obvious way of knowing.
The book builds faith and gives us hope for the future by showing the love of God and the joy to be found in the afterlife. When talking with his parents about God and heaven, Colton kept telling them: "Jesus loves the little children. He really, really loves the children."
Burpo discusses their experiences with humility and is quick to point out his own weaknesses and short comings. He describes his family as just ordinary, small town people yet somehow God allowed them to not only suffer through Colton's life-threatening condition, He also blessed them through Colton's having a small taste of heaven and being able to pass on that vision to others.
Years after Colton's adventure when his parents and he were meeting with an editor for their book, they asked Colton what he would like people to learn from his experience. He told them: that "heaven is for real," which became the title.
The book briefly discusses Akiane Kramarik, a renowned 14-year-old art prodigy who as a child began receiving visions of heaven, angels and various other aspects of the spiritual realm. She captured many of her visions on canvas. Her web site includes an extensive gallery of her work. At age eight she painted "Prince of Peace", one of the most compelling portraits of Jesus I've ever seen.