Book Review: Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo & Lynn Vincent

Have you ever harbored doubts about the existence of Heaven and the possibility of an afterlife? Do you often find yourself needing a “shot in the arm” when it comes to matters of faith? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you absolutely must read this book! Heaven Is For Real is a compelling story that will remove any and all question that its title states the truth. It will bring you that rare peace that can only come from Above, and restore within you the kind of pure, simple, childlike faith that moves mountains!

Within the pages of this book, Pastor Todd Burpo will introduce you to his almost-four-year-old son, Colton. A little more than two months before his fourth birthday, in late February of 2003, Colton began complaining of stomach pains. His mother took him to their family doctor, who misdiagnosed his condition as the stomach flu. A day or two after receiving that diagnosis, his condition did improve enough for the family to go on a planned trip to Colorado. Soon after they arrived, however, Colton fell ill again, and grew steadily worse. He began vomiting uncontrollably. Within days, his condition became so grim that the family was forced to cut their trip short and rush him to the hospital.

Two hospitals and five days later, on March third, they discovered that Colton’s appendix had burst; his body had been poisoning itself for several days. He underwent an emergency appendectomy, and had to endure a second surgery when more infection was found after the first. Afterward, he spent more than two grueling weeks in the hospital, hovering near death and unable to move while the abscess drained. Slowly, he began to recover little by little, and was finally discharged from the hospital on March 15, 2003.

Overjoyed, the family packed up and shuttled him home, where life seemed to return to normal. Four months later, during another family trip to visit relatives, they discovered that something extraordinary had happened to Colton. On the road to their destination in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, they passed the turnoff that, if taken, would lead them to the medical center where Colton had been hospitalized. His mother asked him if he remembered being in the hospital, and he replied: “Sure I do, Mommy! That’s where the angels sang to me!”

Colton then went on to reveal that during the operation he had “went up out of his body.” In simple four-year-old language, he described how he saw the doctor working on his body, and said that he had seen his mommy and daddy in other parts of the hospital. He said he saw his dad in a room by himself, praying, and his mom in a different room praying and talking on the phone. Both statements were true; his parents had been doing exactly that! Needless to say, his parents were rendered speechless! When they recovered enough to speak, they asked where he was. Without hesitation, Colton’s answer was direct and matter-of-fact: “I was sitting in Jesus’ lap!”

This was only the first of many revelations to come from young Colton. As time went on, he revealed more and more of his experience, giving great details about Jesus and Heaven, which his Pastor father dutifully checked against the descriptions given in Scripture. Every time, the two descriptions matched to the letter! Colton was even able to tell his mother that he had met the sister that she had miscarried before he was born, and neither of his parents had ever said a word to him about the miscarriage! One day, out of the blue, he simply walked up to his mom and asked her: “Mommy, you had a baby that died in your tummy, didn’t you?” When she asked how he knew, he simply said that he had met her when he was in Heaven! The more Colton revealed about his experience, the more his parents believed it was true. They believed because, each time he revealed something new, he was able to back it up with the kind of specific, credible details that a child of his age wouldn’t be able to make up.

In the telling of his story, Colton has indeed presented a very convincing case. According to his father’s account of the events, Colton’s body language makes his words all the more compelling. Each time he speaks of his trip to Heaven, his face grows somber, his eyes glow with a knowledge that only experience can bring, and his tone becomes earnest and emphatic. Just seeing and hearing the clarity with which he communicates the tale left his dad with no doubt that he is telling the truth. And it’s all stated very clearly, in the simple language of the little boy that he was! Like many adults, I was a little skeptical when I picked up this book, but take it from me…after finishing this incredible story, you will believe devoutly in its truth!