What if your child challenged your beliefs? What if you child told you they had an experience that contradicted what you believed was possible? That was the experience of Colton’s dad, Todd Burpo (played by Greg Kinnear) in the story that has gone from best selling book and is now headed to the big screen this year.
When four year old Colton goes through emergency surgery he has an experience that is unexplainable in human terms. He is soon able to describe things that he shouldn’t know – and attributes the things he learned to a visit to heaven. Colton’s dad chooses to believe his son despite the disbelief and even ridicule it brings upon him and his family, even bringing his employment as a pastor to risk.
I can relate to the skepticism because I was not even interested in the book when it came out, considering it an attempt to profit off a story I didn’t believe possible due to Scriptures declaration that prophesy was closed. As a rule I don’t give much credence to “visiting heaven and returning” stories. I do believe that God can (and does!) provide supernatural experiences to Christians, as I have had such myself, but have always been hesitant to share those stories for profit, my own stories included – least I tempt God to never intervene in my life again is such a manner.
And yet, my skepticism of the book actually led me to surprisingly appreciate the movie all the more – since the natural skepticism that the audience may have for a story like this is not only welcomed, but embraced by the family themselves. That struggle to believe their son is central to the story – and yet, if true, the evidence he presents in the details and facts he describes, make clear, if it wasn’t heaven he visited, God surely gave him some kind of special experience, and if so, what is the lesson in that for him, and in turn, for us as well?
In the end, the answer to the question as to whether what Colton experienced, “Was it really heaven?” isn’t actually answered. The answer to that question ultimately isn’t important. What matters is that his family believed him and that heaven is real, and that God can and does reveal Himself to us uniquely when and however He desires.
But are we open to Him when He does?
The Bible says that we are to come to God as children. Perhaps that is because children have the openness and tenderness that is needed to see God and receive what He has to show us.
I highly recommend you go see Heaven is for Real. Don’t go as a critic. Don’t go wondering whether Colton’s story is real. Go wondering if heaven is real, and if it is, how else might God try to give glimpses to His creation that it is, so that we don’t stay so busy we miss out on that all important reality.
Enjoy the trailer:
Download excerpts from Colton’s parents new book at: http://heavenisforreal.net
Learn more about the movie at: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/heavenisforreal/