Inspiring, thought-provoking and reassuring—all these words aptly describe the feelings that come from reading this account of Colton Burpo’s near death experience. What a great read—and a fast one too. The energy of the story pushed me forward as I started reading in mid-morning and was finished by mid-afternoon.
The naiveté and innocence of the narrative derive so much from the fact that Colton is only 4 years old and his parents are more surprised than the reader by the revelations which he matter-of-factly drops into his conversations. Actually, even we as readers become so engrossed in the glimpses of heaven that Colton describes that we miss the fact that Colton’s recovery from the burst appendix involved a miracle of divine healing that is an amazing miracle story in itself.
I found myself yearning for more information and also thankful that Todd and the writer had skillfully woven into the narrative helpful passages of Scriptures for comparison when they were available. As believable as first-person witness is, we cannot ever let it contravene a Scriptural witness. One of the touching spots occurs when Todd tries to gently test his son by nonchalantly referring to it becoming nighttime in heaven. But his son immediately challenged him reporting that it is never dark there because Jesus and his Dad are the light.
Many basic truths were underlined by these stories that need to be emphasized today. Colton was certain of the necessity knowing Jesus in order to be ready for heaven. Meeting his sister who died in a miscarriage highlights the essential humanity of unborn children. One surprise truth reminder was the picture of spiritual conflict between good and evil as involving realms other than earth. This fits the Biblical picture too. The theological summary of why Jesus died in child language is classic, “I had to die on the cross so that people on earth could come see my Dad” (p. 111).
I highly recommend this book. In addition to being downright fun to read, it is an encouragement for faith.