One thing that I appreciated about growing up in a Catholic Parochial school (besides a healthy respect for plaid), was a tremendous sense of faith in something which I could not see. I have always believed that there is a God who loves me, even though I spent a good deal of my adult life acting like that did not matter. And heaven, to me, was a very etherial place. But I’ve always believed there to be a heaven.
As well as hell.
Hell is very real to me. And it’s not just those days when I can’t zip my jeans, while my hormones play fast and loose with my sanity. As the children try to talk to me under the bathroom door.
I’ve stumbled through my life not thinking an awful lot about the afterlife. And while I know that my focus should always be first and foremost on Jesus, it’s all too easy to be sidetracked by deadlines, appointments, and all the general mayhem that happens when you’re juggling a home, husband, and children with a thirst for destruction.
A while back, Fiddledaddy put a hold on Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. We were something like 15th in line to receive the book. I wondered what the fuss was about. When I finally picked it up, it made the rounds in our house, and finally landed on my night stand.
If I didn’t need that time consuming activity called sleep, I would have finished it in one sitting. Heaven is for Real is the real life account of a nearly 4 year old boy who almost, or perhaps did, die on an operating table following a burst appendix. Just the recounting of the details of his illness and hospitalization, and how a doctor really missed the diagnosis almost costing this boy his life, brought me to my knees.
But then, as he recovered, he began to tell his parents snippets of conversations he had, and people that he saw in heaven. He knew things that a 4 year old had no way of knowing. Many things supported by scripture, as told by his father, who is a pastor.
I know that there are perhaps a lot of folks out there who are skeptics. I believe that what this small boy encountered was divine. And my views of the afterlife, Jesus, and a heavenly Father who loves me, are forever changed.
If you get a chance, I encourage you to read this book. I found it hugely inspirational and uplifting.
Frankly, I think that Heaven is going to be one fantastic surprise party. Where no one wears plaid.