4 Lessons I Learned from “Heaven Is For Real”

From time to time, I want to connect you with some good reading that relates to the ONE, HOME, and the JOURNEY. In my initial attempt, I offer you my take on the bestseller Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo.

First, I must admit that the book’s level of professionalism surprised me. I often thought, “For a pastor, Todd Burpo writes very well.”

I’m not knocking pastors (after all, I’ve been there, done that). What surprised me was that this was Todd’s first stab at writing. The sentences were crisp, clear, and well-written. Several turns of phrases were, in my estimation, exceptional.

In describing the pain of kidney stones, Todd wrote: “I had once slammed my middle finger in a tailgate and cut the tip off. That was like baking cookies compared to this.”  The mental picture of pain came through with high-def clarity.

At book’s end, I learned part of the reason for how well the book was written. Lynn Vincent, a gifted writer, collaborated on the project. Smart move on Thomas Nelson Publishing’s part. Lynn helped write Same Kind of Different as Me, another exceptional true story.

So how about the story itself? Colton, not quite four years old, gets sick—a sickness unto death. During surgery, he leaves his body and enters heaven. Total time elapsed is three minutes. But, oh, how potent those three minutes become.

Months later his experience unfolds through a series of unexpected conversations. The first takes place when the family passes the hospital where Colton “died.” In an offhanded comment, father Todd teases Colton. “Hey, Colton, if we turn here, we can go back to the hospital. Do you wanna go back to the hospital?”

After the teasing, mother Sonja asks, “Do you remember the hospital, Colton?”

“Yes, Mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”

That statement was the first inkling anything unusual had happened during those 17 painful, fretful days in the hospital. From that initial comment, bits and pieces of Colton’s heavenly experience leaked out in random conversations in the car, after a nighttime story, in a nursing home, and during other serendipitous moments.

Heaven Is For Real doesn’t offer detailed descriptions of heaven. What it does offer is a view of heaven through the eyes of an almost-four-year-old child and the biblical wisdom of his pastor-father. Colton described God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and heaven then Todd coupled his son’s revelations with Scripture.

The simple lessons I learned were:

Jesus loves children. A lot!

Heaven is wonderful yet indescribable.

God loves us.

The Holy Spirit is “kind of blue.”

One thing struck me personally. Todd shares the experiences of two children, his son’s and a little girl named Akiane Kramarik who, at age four, started having visions of God and heaven. Both Colton and Akiane commented on how beautiful Jesus’ eyes were. They loved His eyes.

So how does that strike me personally? I’ve written a novel about heaven and hell entitled Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes (not published, not even contracted). In the novel, I make a big deal out of a character seeing the eyes of Jesus, His beautiful, deep eyes.

For me, Heaven Is For Real did two things, both related to my writing career.

It troubled me. Some of Colton’s descriptions alter my perception of heaven enough to raise an important question. Should I now rewrite scenes in my novel in order to line up with what Colton saw?

It encouraged me. Other descriptions confirmed an inner sense based on Scripture, observation, and intuition that guided me in writing my novel. I received great affirmation, pleasure, and joy at two points, Jesus’ eyes and heaven’s colors.

Heaven Is For Real is a well-crafted and hope-filled true story. I know for certain its reading will put a smile in your heart and a tear in your eye. It touches a deep chord in the human soul.

Question: If you’ve read Heaven Is For Real, what did you think of the story?

If you want to know more, I recommend:

An Interview with Todd Burpo, Author of Heaven Is For Real, http://michaelhyatt.com/an-interview-with-todd-burpo-author-of-heaven-is-for-real.html

Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes on tourDark Eyes, Deep Eyes

Two men. Two eternal destinies.

One common hope.

A poignant and compelling portrayal of heaven and hell, with a powerful look at redemption from the perspective of both the lost…and the saved. Well done!–Susan May Warren, best-selling, award-winning author of You Don’t Know Me.

“Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes” was a compelling read for me. The vivid descriptions challenged and ignited my imagination. Tom skillfully laid out a clever story that caused me to think and made me want to read to the end.–Ron Fruit GM, WRCO Radio

For more of what People Are Saying follow link.

Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes can be found at:

WestBow Press


Barnes & Noble

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About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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2 Responses to 4 Lessons I Learned from “Heaven Is For Real”

  1. Pingback: 4 Ways to Be a Neighbor to Those Closest to Us | The Journey

  2. Pingback: What’s Your Pleasure? | A Curious Band of Others

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