My mom is in a book club, and often asks me for some suggestions. Knowing that she is coming into town this weekend, I wanted to get her something. Heaven is for Real is a book that just came out in November and has been generating a lot of buzz lately. It’s spent several weeks in a row in the #1 slot on the New York Times Bestseller list, which is definitely a great feat for any book, especially a book with Christian content. So other than that, and the very basic premise of the story (it’s about a very young boy who during an emergency appendectomy experienced a glimpse of heaven), I didn’t know much about it. So I ordered the book from work (yes, disclaimer, I do work for Thomas Nelson, the publisher). Figuring I might as well read it before handing if off to her, I cracked it open Thursday night to read a few pages. I then proceeded to read it at lunch on Friday and then I finished it Sunday. I’m not sure I have ever read a book so quickly. I really, honestly, couldn’t put it down. The story is that amazing.
I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone! It is a very easy, quick read and the things you read will astound you. Colton is almost 4 years old when he has an emergency appendectomy (and with various complications actually had 2 very serious surgeries & a harrowing 17-day hospital stay) during which he travels to heaven and back. However, it is not until about 4 months later that his parents start catching on to what has happened as Colton starts sharing very blunt comments like “that’s where the angels sang to me” and how “Jesus used Dr. O’Holleran to fix me.”
In the next few months and years Colton shares bits and pieces of information with his parents of what he experienced of heaven. He is even able to tell them where in the hospital they each were and what exactly they were doing while he was in the middle of surgery. He tells them about meeting his great-grandfather in heaven (who died long before Colton was even born) as well as the sister who his mother miscarried after just 2 months of pregnancy (also before Colton was born)!
He describes Jesus (“his eyes are sooo pretty”), Jesus’ horse (“he let me pet his horse”), heaven as filled with rainbows, God on His throne and how Jesus sits on God’s right side and Gabriel is on His other side. He met “Jesus’ cousin” (John the Baptist), saw the wounds on Jesus’ hands & feet, and sees a glimpse of the final battle of the Apocalypse.
His bluntness in his answers and his 4-year-old innocence leave no room for doubting his honesty in what he saw.
In the ladies’ small group Bible study that I lead, we just finished a long study on the book of Revelation. This book, and Colton’s descriptions of different aspects of heaven, made what we just studied so much more vivid to me. There were honestly consistent moments during my reading that I would uncontrollably well up with tears and gasp from being overcome with emotion. Do you know what I mean? It’s almost too indescribable for words to read these descriptions of what heaven is like and have it confirmed that it is real, and so much better than we can even imagine.
I have never read any other modern-day book about someone’s experience who has claimed to have seen heaven, so I can’t make comparisons. But something tells me this has got to be one of the most credible, just coming from the untainted view of a 4-year-old.
I am so excited to know that we will actually know our loved ones in heaven, even the ones we have never met! He hangs out with the great-grandpa and sister he had never met on earth, yet he knows them in heaven and even misses them terribly once back.
Here are some of the other miscellaneous things that I learned from Colton’s experience: there are “no old people” in heaven. The heavenly bodies that we’re given are from our prime. People get wings in heaven and some are bigger than others. There are dogs in heaven, and other various animals. Jesus really, really loves the little children.
I will stop there, but I am so excited about this book! I will be telling everyone I know that they must read it. So consider this your invitation to go pick it up. I promise that your faith will be strengthened because of it!