Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heaven is For Real

A Book Review With a Personal Twist

A retired ordained clergy member loaned this book to a friend, who is a Dr.. She loaned it to me before she read it.

I read it in a day. Loved it!

This is the story of a family of four who is beset by one trauma after another. The final trauma is the sickness of the youngest boy, Colton: he had an appendicitis attack. One would think that an appendicitis attack would be a cut and dried thing. Except, in this case, it was misdiagnosed as a stomach virus. The three year old youngster seemed to improve and then worsened again. When he reached the point of near death, he received an accurate diagnosis and had emergency surgery. But at that time, his appendix had been burst for days. He survives the surgery but has to have the incision drained and repacked regularly until the incision heals. When he is about to be released, the hospital staff informs the parents that another surgery has to be done to clean up new pockets of infection that they have detected. The prognosis after the second surgery is not good. However, his condition improves miraculously after the congregation of the family’s church holds an emergency impromptu prayer service.

His condition improves and he is released from the hospital. This is where most stories would end. But not this one. For in this story, over time, a revelation is made by the little boy, Colton, that during his surgery, he visited heaven and sat in the lap of Jesus. Over time, he reveals other details, such as angels, rainbows, monsters, spiritual warfare in the heavenliest, meeting John the Baptist, seeing God, and seeing Mary, mother of Jesus. This is what would be an unbelievable story, except for the fact that this boy tells these details matter of factly and all of his descriptions and information parallel scripture.

Colton’s father is a pastor and the author of this book. The father reveals all of these experiences to the world in such a way that he points out the relevant scriptures that parallel Colton’s experiences in heaven. Both Colton’s experiences and his father’s wisdom come together to make up the whole story.

After I read this book, I told my friend who I said before is a Doctor, that I would love to be inside her head when she read this book. I wonder at what point, when she reads about the symptoms she would suspect appendicitis. That is when she explained to me that appendicitis is very hard to diagnose in a child, because the symptoms mimic so many other things.

Two days ago, I told my prayer group that I had read it this week as part of my study. Today, I received an email from a friend in our prayer group that the seventeen year old son of one of our members had been admitted into the hospital today for what was suspected to be appendicitis. He had emergency surgery today and is doing well as I write this. But his condition was originally miss-diagnosed as a urinary tract infection.

I went to the hospital to check on him and his parents, and I related the story about this book to them. Before I finished my story, the father was nodding his head. I asked him if he had read it. He said no, but he had been at a baseball game watching his other son play baseball, when another parent who had read the book told him about the story. He said that at that point, he had texted his wife.

I recommend that everyone from fifth grade on up read this book for a number of reasons.

The first reason is that this book is easy to read and the subject matter and language are appropriate for all audiences.

Second, all parents and Doctors should read this as a reminder of the difficulty of the diagnosis of appendicitis in a child and the propensity of this condition to mimic many other common childhood illnesses. Although the Doctor is responsible for making an accurate diagnosis, it is the job of the parents to take children back to the doctor when the condition does not improve. This story may be the story that saves someone’s life.

Third, I recommend this book for both Christians and non-Christians. I recommend it for Christians because it is a reminder of the beauty and magnificence of our final destination. There are points in this story in which scripture is given a more concrete picture.

I recommend this for the non-Christian because whether or not someone believes in God, this is a good story and this could be the seed that is planted that blooms one day.

Either way, this is a great book, that came at a unique time in my life and the life of my friends.


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