“Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

Okay, this book falls way off my normal range of topics to read. To be perfectly honest, I don’t read a ton of books about faith and heaven and God. I read the bible daily, go to mass, read Guideposts, and never talk about my faith and once in a blue moon, I’ll read a book about inspiration. I guess for me personally, faith and a person’s relationship with God is intensely personal and I just don’t confide in people about stuff that way. Obviously, based on previous entries on this blog, my “normal” type of books are military history. I can’t tell you why I read this book other than my mom kept hinting to me to a point of almost nagging about it that I would enjoy it and it would make me think (which is never really been a problem for me either :)). And for some reason, I caved (thankfully).

This book chronicles a little boy and his experience with Heaven. Colton, 4 years old, started feeling sick and his parents took him to the hospital. Long story short, he had appendicitis that was incorrectly diagnosed and by the time the doctors at a second hospital realized it was appendicitis, he was in very bad shape (although apparently he never “died” technically). His dad is a Wesleyan pastor (I went to a Wesleyan church for almost my whole life until I converted to Catholicism so this struck a chord with me – maybe it was a sign? :)) and his mom is a teacher amongst their various other side jobs to make ends meet. Their faith was truly tested during this crisis but what happened next was just amazing (in my opinion anyway). Colton would start talking about what he saw when he went to heaven. Now I coach a group of 5- and 6-year-olds in soccer and based on my experience with them and my 7-year-old nephew and 6-year-old niece (and I’m far from a professional), I can definitely tell you that kids don’t repeat stuff unless they hear it from someone or they see it. Their imaginations don’t seem to have fully developed yet so most of their “playing” seems to be based on their interpretation of what they’ve seen and heard or a blend thereof. And the stuff that Colton tells people, even adults have difficulty coming up with so I truly believe this story. He talks about what Jesus looks like, what Heaven looks like, the people up there, God, the Holy Spirit. What he witnessed was verified in biblical text most adults don’t even understand (I mean the Book of Revelations is about as complex as they come)! I found this book comforting and my faith just a bit stronger after reading it.

I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for inspiration or even understanding. I normally read Guideposts magazine’s regular feature “His Mysterious Ways” (which lets face it, they’re only mysterious to us but maybe the title makes God chuckle) for inspiration (which I would also recommend) and this book was far more inspirational to me than even that. This book is being moved to the top shelf (!!) of the bookshelf containing books that I have read and the only books on that shelf right now are the Bible (and I have 3 different versions), the entire Harry Potter series, Band of Brothers, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I haven’t placed a book on that shelf in quite some time so that says something :).

For those of you that have read this book, I’m curious about what you thought? For everyone, are there other inspirational books I shouldn’t be overlooking?


About jenvolk5

Bank auditor by day, trivia and knowledge hound all other times.
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2 Responses to “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

  1. Jay says:

    Hi Jen,
    I have heard of this book. I know it has become a bit of a phenomenon, selling outrageously, etc. As a dyed in the wool skeptic, though, I find it a bit hard to swallow. Is a supernatural explanation the simplest one for Colton’s stories? Or is it more likely that he has absorbed things growing up with his dad being a pastor. As I understand it, his parents claim they’ve never taught him about the things he mentions, but that doesn’t necessarily prove anything, and aren’t we hearing about Colton’s stories second hand through his parents? I don’t dispute that they may sincerely believe in a supernatural explanation, but to me some more convincing “proof” is required. As they say, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” I’m not sure it’s been provided. 🙂

    • jenvolk5 says:

      I originally thought that too but the things Colton is saying isn’t something he would have just picked up. His parents never told anyone about the miscarriage and yet Colton knew. I think you should check out the book and I’m really curious what you think…

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