Have you seen this book on shelves? I know I’d seen it a ton as I shopped and always just passed over it. I don’t really know why, but I always thought it was one of those sarcastic, we’re-making-fun-of-you-Christians books. Clearly I never looked closely enough at the cover. One night while I was at the bar, a friend of mine began telling me about the book and how it made him believe in Heaven. Hearing it come from this friend, I knew it had to be legit – he can be very…contrary? Anyway, this post isn’t about my friend, it’s about the book. I told him I’d get the book and read it, and just last night I downloaded it on my nook. I think there was a guilty feeling inside me because we weren’t going to Christmas Eve service, and I thought that reading this book might make up for it. I was right.
Todd Burpo is a pastor in small-town Nebraska, and also owns a garage-door installation company. He and his wife Sonja have two children, Cassie (6) and Colton (3 1/2). Everything is finally going well for the Burpos after a tough few months in which Todd breaks his leg, gets kidney stones, and has a cancer scare – all of which lead to a steep drop in income. After finally recovering from all these faith-testing ailments and getting back on track with work, the family takes a trip to Colorado for a board meeting of the Wesleyan church. While there, Colton complains of a stomach ache and becomes sick. Colton does seem to get back to normal, but several days later, the symptoms return. When Todd and Sonja take Colton to the hospital, he is on the verge of death and undergoes emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix.
While waiting for their son to return from surgery, Todd and Sonja pray along with friends, family, and congregation members around town. Colton comes out of surgery and after a few weeks of difficulties, is suddenly back to normal – an unexpected miracle. Life returns to normal for a few months until the family is on their way to visit aunts and uncles for the Fourth of July and Colton reveals that angels sang to him while he was in the hospital. He tells his family that he sat on Jesus’ lap, and that he watched as the doctors operated on his body and as his father prayed in one room while his mom made phone calls in another. And so begins the amazing story of Colton’s visit to heaven.
I began reading the book around 4:00, and didn’t stop until I finished it around 10. This may be the fastest book I’ve ever read (besides picture books and kiddy chapter books, obviously). I was so engrossed and so amazed the whole time, that I could not put the book (nook) down! Believe me, there were times that I gasped out loud, and I can’t tell you the number of times I looked at my family and said, “You need to read this as soon as I’m done.”
It’s a definite that I will be telling anyone I know about this book; it was so incredibly moving and reassuring. I am a Christian and I do of course believe in God and Heaven but there are times that I wonder what it’s like. I have always been afraid to die, but after reading this story, I find myself a lot more comfortable with the thought. Who doesn’t feel better when they know what to expect? I’m almost excited to get there and to find this all out for myself. I’m excited to see all the things I’ve read. I think that is the best part of reading this book – the fact that it has taken away my fear and reaffirmed my faith.
I hope if you read the book yourself, you have as uplifting an experience as I did.
**Edit: 12/26 – Yesterday morning, I asked my sister if she wanted to read it. She shocked me and said yes (she HATES reading), and finished the book by the time we had Christmas dinner. My mom picked it up after dinner and when I talked to her this morning, she had already finished it. Read it, you won’t be sorry!**