I just read a love story. It was about a little boy, an almost-four-year-old, who was near death because of a misdiagnosed ruptured appendix. Several months after the two surgeries that saved his life, he began to tell his parents about his experience in Heaven during his hospitalization.
Colton saw Jesus, sat on His lap, and met His cousin, John the Baptist. He met his great-grampa, Pop, and the sister he didn't even know he had. When his parents asked her name Colton told them that she didn't have a name because she died before they could name her. Indeed, there had been a miscarriage before Colton but they had never mentioned it to him, and, not knowing the gender of the child, they had not named the baby.
Todd Burpo, Colton's father and a bi-vocational pastor in Imperial, Kansas, tells the amazing story that unfolds over several months in Heaven is for Real. It is currently Number One on the New York Times Bestseller List. People from all walks of life and from diverse points of view will read it. They will form their own decisions about its authenticity, about this family, and about Heaven and the God who dwells there. But will they read it as a love story?
When Jesus holds Colton on His lap and helps him with his "homework" and when He reminds Colton how much He "loves the children"; when Colton describes the appearance of Jesus, with His beautiful eyes and "markers" (nailprints) on His hands and feet; when Colton's mother finds divine comfort for the grief she has carried for years over the loss of an unborn child; I wonder, will people see this for the love story that it is?
It wasn't the revelations that Colton shared with his family that impressed me the most -- though they were incredible -- but that God should care so personally for people. Throughout the book I had a growing sense of awe that Jesus looks at us in the midst of our day-to-day lives, and loves us beyond our comprehension. We just don't get it. God loves us and is aware of us in the most intimate parts of our lives.
I wonder, will readers discover in the pages of Heaven is for Real this sweetest love of all?