I’m a few years late getting around to reading Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent.
I finally moved it to the top of my stack when we were invited to preview the new movie coming out on April 16th based on the book.
Heaven is For Real is the true story of three-year-old Colton Burpo who visited heaven during emergency surgery.
In the months after the surgery, Colton’s parents, Todd and Sonja, were surprised at his comments and insights. He knew both parents’ whereabouts during his surgery. He claimed to have met a sister (a baby his mother miscarried before he was born and who he didn’t know about) and his great-grandfather in heaven where he sat on Jesus’ knee and the angels sang to him.
The book is well-written and engaging. It’s a quick read and I breezed through it in a day or so. The book has its nay-sayers who don’t believe Colton visited heaven. I admit his conviction that people in heaven have wings isn’t in my Bible, but it’s likely that some of his three-year-old misconceptions about the hereafter were translated into his experience.
The movie is well-done. I enjoyed it. It will also have its nay-sayers. The Gospel is watered-down. There’s a lot of talk about God and His love and Jesus is a big part of heaven, but there’s no mention of the narrow path or the price Jesus paid for us to get to heaven. The movie is also different from the book. Most of the changes didn’t bother me, I understand the need for poetic license in adapting a book for the screen. The essence of the book is there: a little boy visited heaven and lived to tell about it.
Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly are excellent as the mom and dad. Connor Corum as Colton is perfectly cast. He captures the winsomeness and innocence of a young boy.
The production values are excellent for a faith-based movie, although the persistence in using an electric blue and yellow/orange color palette grew a bit tiresome.
The ending is very contrived and “Hollywood-ish.” First a drama had to be created where there wasn’t one in the book. Then it had to have the Kum-by-yah resolution. Yawn. There are so many talented storytellers. I refuse to believe that was the best they could come up with.
Overall though, minor quibbles to what is an excellent book and a good movie. Will they win any converts? Not likely. Will the already converted love them? Yep.
There’s a sentiment I sometimes hear about growing older and about death and dying. It goes something like this:
The closer I get to heaven and the more people I love who are there, the dearer heaven becomes.
I’ve certainly found this to be true in my own life, and I’ve shared many stories here about those who’ve gone ahead.
Another great saint made her way into eternity recently. She was the mother of dear friends and I know, as much as they will and do miss her, they are glad she has joined her husband and her Lord.
I’ve been reading about heaven and as I learn more about this very real place, the dearer it becomes.
This quote from C.S. Lewis brought tears to my eyes (no surprise to anyone who knows me well!):
… And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page; now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read; which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before. ~C.S. Lewis
I’m glad, too, that Lois and so many others have finally begun their Chapter One.
Life is hard. Life isn’t fair. Life sucks.
I’ve heard (and felt) all of the above in the last few weeks. And with some good reasons:
- A friend is slowly being crippled by a chronic disease.
- A thirty-something mother of three young girls from church has decided to stop chemo and begin palliative/comfort care for the remainder of her life.
- Two babies died this week.
- A niece passed a kidney stone the size of a pea.
- A young man is dying of AIDS.
Life is hard.
Life isn’t fair.
But it’s what we’re stuck with as long as we’re on this side of eternity. I keep coming back to the fact that “… our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
I have a friend who keeps
threatening promising to make t-shirts that say “Heaven is Gonna Rock.”
The more people I know on that other side, the dearer Heaven becomes. I made one of the dying people I know promise to deliver a few messages for me.
I’m not morbidly thinking I will die anytime soon, or wishing for heaven.
It’s more like a favorite aunt and uncle has moved to Fairbanks. I’ve never had a desire to go to Fairbanks and see it for myself. But just knowing that someone I love is there makes the thought of traveling to Fairbanks a little more bearable. And it makes Fairbanks a bit more special to me.
You know how real life is left behind when you’re on vacation? Heaven is kind of like a permanent vacation from laundry and dental cleanings.
It’s gonna ROCK!