"Heaven Is For Real"

Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

I must admit I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to people who say they’ve been to Heaven. I am a believer and I am convinced Heaven exists and that I’ll be going there when my life here ends, certainly not because of any merit of my own but because Jesus’ death paid for my sins, and the sins of all who are willing to trust Him. In spite of my faith, my human reason finds it hard to accept, or maybe just thinks it’s too good to be true, that a person could experience Heaven and then return to earth to tell the rest of us what it’s like. I have no problem with the Heaven part, just the coming back part.

This story is particularly touching in that it’s a young child who is sharing his experience of Heaven. And he didn’t just go, come back and start telling his story. What he experienced slowly seeped bit by bit into his everyday conversation with his parents. Because he was so young, he was unaware that what he experienced was not a normal event but a spectacular look into the afterlife that very few people ever get to tell about. He thought it was what happened to everybody so his telling of it was in matter-of-fact bits and pieces as various topics came up over time. That slow unfolding of the story is what makes it so believable for me.

The first indication that something out of the ordinary had happened to their son, Colton, came when he said that he recognized the hospital as the place “where the angels sang to me.” When his parents questioned him, they heard more: “I was sitting in Jesus’ lap” and “Dad, Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was so scared.” Then, when Colton told his parents where each of them had been and what they were doing while he was anesthetized and in surgery, they didn’t know what to think, but it was becoming clear that something big had happened.

Everything Colton said about his experience in Heaven was analyzed by his parents until they had no choice but to believe it. He knew things he couldn’t know and he talked about meeting family members already gone when he was born. Even when asked about things he had already told them, they couldn’t trip him up. There are of course many who will say the parents made it up, or Colton made it up, or it was a dream or the effects of the anesthetic, but I figure I’ve got two choices. I can believe it and look forward to the kind of life that awaits me in Heaven, or I can dismiss it merely as the fantasy of a small child and forget about it.

I choose to believe it. It’s beautiful and inspiring and hopeful, and I get more good out of believing it than not believing it. I read the entire book looking for something that would make it not credible, but didn’t find it. There is a lot more to Colton's story than is told here so check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

I recommend “Heaven Is For Real” to anyone who could use a little hope, a little happiness. Suspend your scepticism and disbelief for a couple of hours and read the book. What have you got to lose?

Canadian Book Challenge #5

Happy Canada Day! It's July 1st again and that means Canada Day celebrations and The Canadian Book Challenge 5. I signed up for Challenge 4 and my goal was to read 13 but I managed to get in these 16:

The Wise and Foolish Virgins by Don Hannah
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Blue Castle by Lucy M. Montgomery
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowatt
The Hatbox Letters by Beth Powning
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Towes
The Piano Man's Daughter by Timothy Findlay
Glass Voices by Carol Bruneau
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy M. Montgomery
The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong
The Boat Who Wouldn't Float by Farley Mowatt

The challenge was a very positive experience for me, discovering Canadian authours whose names I'd never heard and finally getting to some whose names are as familiar to me as my own but whose books I just never got around to picking up. I found writers I loved and writers I didn't enjoy at all, but I ended the challenge feeling like I have a whole new world of unexplored books waiting for me.

For my first year in the challenge I made a list of Canadian books I've been wanting to read but this time around I think I'll just read them as I find them. There's a huge list of them at Canadian Book Challenge 4 Final Roundup. John Mutford hosts the Canadian Book Challenge on his blog www.bookmineset.blogspot.com and keeps a running tally month by month of the total each participant has read. The link above will take you to the list of the 859 reviews written on 638 books by 56 participants in the past year.

I just signed up for Challenge #5 and hope some of you will consider it. All you have to do is send John an email at jmutford (at) hotmail [dot] com with "sign me up" in the subject line. Each month he sends out an email asking us to send links to the reviews of books we've read that month and once he gets your first one you'll be added to the list of participants in his sidebar.

You don't have to have a website or blog to post a review. Places like Amazon and Chapters let anyone post a review without having to sign in. The only stipulation John has is that the reviews be available to everyone, so posting it on Facebook wouldn't qualify because you have to have an account to sign in.

So click on the Canadian Book Challenge 5 button on my sidebar and check it out. And in the meantime, enjoy your Canada Day celebrations!