Heaven is for Real was just released as a movie two weeks ago, and last Sunday I enjoyed seeing it as part of a volunteer appreciation event for H.I.S. (Health Intervention Services). Even though I’d read the book shortly after its publication in 2010 (when it became a NY Times best-seller), and even though I’d taken a copy to comfort my sister-in-law, Jan, shortly before she died…or maybe because of those events…I found myself tearing up over and over again during the movie. The movie (and book) are based on the experience of Todd and Sonja Burpo, whose 4-year-old son, Colton, nearly died on the operating table after his appendix burst. Four months after Colton recovered, he starting telling his parents about visiting heaven while he’d been in surgery, mentioning things he’d learned about his family that his parents had never told him. Although the details of Colton’s experience aren’t anti-biblical, there are (of course) those who doubt the veracity and plausibility of the story. However, after reading 90 Minutes in Heaven and stories about other death/near death experiences, I can only say that to me the story could be true. I do believe heaven is very much real. I know that the Apostle Paul records being caught up to heaven in 2 Corinthians. I personally know the ghost writer for 90 Minutes in Heaven, and he believes the testimony of Don Piper.
What most impacted me as I watched the movie was empathizing with the anguish of people trying to be honest about what they’ve experienced, honoring the faith of their child, and being willing to express their faith in the face of disbelief and disapproval. Do we believe in the reality of heaven and hell? Are we looking forward to going to heaven? Are we willing to share the gospel with others so that they can know the joy and peace of possessing eternal life through Jesus Christ? Maybe reading or watching Heaven is for Real will encourage you in your own faith journey as it did me. It’s showing in the GR theaters now, and it may be available in other cities as well, or you can get a copy of the book on Amazon for $7.09. Unfortunately, you can’t borrow my copy this time, because I gave mine to my beloved sister-in-law, who began enjoying the reality of heaven on Mother’s Day just two years ago. 🙂
“I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows), how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12:3-4).
P.S.—I just listened to one of my son Jonathan’s GodTalks, which is a fascinating interview with Sid Roth, founder of the T.V. show “It’s Supernatural.” Sid recently published the book Heaven is Beyond Your Wildest Expectations: Ten True Stories of Experiencing Heaven. I am intrigued and hope to read the book soon. If you’re interested in more information on spiritual things and the afterlife, I would like to recommend the interview between Jonathan and Sid, which can be found at: http://aqueductproject.org/category/archive/