The Source, God, is completely gracious, wise and accepting. When we experience the after-life, the Spirit dimension, we experience it in a way which is accessible for us, understandable and comfortable. This delightful little book is about a delightful little boy who had a near-death experience. He experienced heaven in a way completely consistent with being four years old.
He also has been raised in a Church/Christian environment, so his experience was entirely consistent with this milieu. His father is a pastor in a small, western-Nebraska town.
Colton Burpo, approaching his fourth birthday, complained of a stomach ache. Several recurrences of this stomach ache, a couple trips to the doctor, finally resulted in emergency surgery for a burst appendix. Although Colton was extremely sick and the parents realized they almost lost him, there was no indication of him actually clinically dying.
Thus, a few months later, the parents were caught completely by surprise when Colton began talking about his experience of angels, Jesus, and heaven. While aware of the phenomenon of near-death experiences, here in their own four-year-old son it was difficult to accept. Details emerged over a period of months and years following, as occasionally Colton would come up with statements which would catch his parents off-guard.
At one point Todd, Colton’s father, wanting to ascertain the validity of his son’s experience, asked him about going to heaven. “You said you went to heaven. People have to die to go to heaven.” Colton’s gaze didn’t waver. “Well, okay then. I died. But just for a little bit.” (p 79) After mulling this over the father, “. . . realized that Colton, in telling me he had died ‘for a little bit,’ had only been trying to match up his pastor-dad’s assertion with what he knew to be the facts of his own experience.” (p 80)
Colton had many experiences in heaven. He met John the Baptist (“. . . he was really nice.” p 63), saw Jesus’ horse, many angels, had to do homework, saw Jesus’ markers (stigmata), and much more. Again, Todd wanted to put things into perspective. “‘Colton, you said you were in heaven and you did all these things . . . a lot of things. How long were you gone?’ My little boy looked me right in the eye and didn’t hesitate. ‘Three minutes,’ he said. Then he hopped down from the chair and skipped off to play.” (p 76) Todd had to realize that in heaven time is very different than we experience on earth.
I could go on and on. This book is full of delightful stories. It is so refreshing to hear deep spiritual things from a child’s perspective. I recommend this read to anyone, but especially Christians. Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, by Todd Burpo.