Grateful 43- Ideas from Heaven is for Real

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Day 36 – Ideas from (the book) Heaven is for Real

Have you read any books about heaven? A couple of years ago my prayer partner lent me her copy of Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo. The other day she lent her copy to my daughter. Since my daughter is currently living with me, I thought I’d reread the book so we could discuss it once she is done.

I don’t know if the toddler, Colton Burpo, actually visited heaven. But I do know after reading this book that my faith and excitement for heaven grew. And both are good things.

I am grateful 4 3 ideas from this book. I will share my idea and then some quotes from the book about that idea. NOTE: All the quotes except for two are from the dad, Todd Burpo.

ONE. God hears our prayers even if we’re MAD at Him.

And Jesus answered my prayer? Personally? After I had yelled at God, chastising Him, questioning His wisdom and His faithfulness? …

Why would God even answer a prayer like that? And how did I deserve His mercy?

I don’t feel good about having been so angry with God. When I was so upset, burning with righteous anger that He was about to take my child, guess who was holding my child? Guess who was loving my child, unseen? …

At that time, when I was so upset and so outraged, can you believe that God chose to answer that prayer? … “Can you believe that I could pray a prayer like that, and God would still answer it with ‘yes’?”

What had I learned? I was reminded yet again that I could be real with God. I told my fellow pastors. I learned that I didn’t have to offer some kind of churchy, holy sounding prayer in order to be heard in heaven. “You might as well tell God what you think,” I said. “He already knows it anyway.”

Most importantly of all, I learned that I am heard. We all are. I had been a Christian since childhood and a pastor for half my life, so I believed that before. But now, I knew it. How? As the nurses wheeled my son away screaming, “Daddy, Daddy, don’t let them take me!” . . . when I was angry at God because I couldn’t go to my son, hold him, and comfort him, God’s Son was holding my son in His lap.

TWO. Prayer is effective and needed.

Pastors are supposed to be unshakeable pillars of faith, right? But at that moment, my faith was hanging by a tattered thread and fraying fast. I thought of the times where the Scripture says that God answered the prayers, not of the sick or dying, but of the friends of the sick or dying – the paralytic, for example. It was when Jesus saw the faith of the man’s friends that he told the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” At that moment I needed to borrow the strength and faith of some other believers.

Our church gathering around us in the eye of the storm would change the way Sonja and I approached pastoral visitation in times of trial and grief. We were faithful about it before; now we’re militant.

THREE. Jesus really, really loves children.

And He really, really loves us, Dad. You can’t belieeeeve how much He loves us!” … (Colton Burpo)

. . . . . .

No matter what new tidbits he revealed, though, Colton had one consistent theme: he talked constantly about how much Jesus loves the children. I mean that: constantly.

He would wake up in the morning and tell me, “Hey dad, Jesus told me to tell you, He really loves the children.”

Over dinner at night: “Remember, Jesus really loves the children.”

Before bed, as I helped him brush his teeth, “Hey, daddy don’t forget,” he’d say, garbling the words through a mouthful of toothpaste foam, “Jesus said He really, really loves the children!”

Sonja got the same treatment. She had begun working part-time again by then, and on the days she stayed home with Colton, he chirped all day long about Jesus loving the children. It got so it didn’t matter what Bible story she or I read to our tiny evangelist at night, whether from the Old Testament, the New Testament, about Moses, Noah, or King Solomon, Colton wrapped up the night with the same message: “Jesus loves the children!”

Finally I had to tell him, “Colton, we get it. You can stop. When I get to heaven, you are exonerated. I’ll tell Jesus you did your job.”

We might’ve grown weary of Colton’s nonstop message about Jesus’ love for kids, but it did transform the way we approached children’s ministry in our church. Sonja had always been torn between singing on the worship team during Sunday morning services and going downstairs to teach Sunday school for the kids. And while she knew that statistics show most people who profess faith in Christ do so at a young age, it was Colton’s passionate insistence on Christ’s love for children that gave Sonja a fresh energy for our kids’ ministry.

BONUS. FOUR. Laughter.

Sometimes laughter is the only way to process tough times.

 . . . . . .

Finally I plunged in: “Colton, you said that angels sang to you while you were in the hospital?”

He nodded his head vigorously.

“What did they sing to you?”

Colton turned his eyes up and to the right, the attitude of remembering. “Well, they sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and ‘Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho,” he said earnestly. “I asked them to sing ‘We Will Rock You,’ but they wouldn’t sing that.

. . . . . .

“Well, I guess that’s one thing you didn’t like about heaven-no swords up there.” …

“There are too swords in heaven!” he said.

“Umm . . . OK,” [Sonja said]; “why do they need swords in heaven?”

“Mom, Satan’s not in hell yet,” Colton said, almost scolding. “The angels carry swords so they can keep Satan out of heaven.”

… I decided to lighten the mood. “Hey, Colton, I bet you asked if you could have a sword, didn’t you?” I said.

At that, Colton’s scowl melted into a dejected frown, and his shoulders slumped toward the floor. “Yeah, I did. But Jesus wouldn’t let me have one. He said I’d be too dangerous.”

I chuckled a little, wondering if Jesus meant Colton would be a danger to himself or others.

. . . . . .

Here is the next book, Heaven Changes Everything: the Rest of the Story by Todd Burpo. I will report back after I read this one.

Your Turn . . .  Name at least one way your life would be different if you . . .

  • Lived each day AWARE of the reality of Heaven?
  • KNEW how much Jesus loves children?
  • Believed that your prayers are HEARD?

I am writing a gratitude series titled Grateful 43. I will do this for 43 days. And I will write three things for which I am grateful 4 each topic. Do you see the play on the words 43 and FOR THREE?  Go here for the 43 Days of Gratitude JOURNAL 

Related Posts . . .

The following posts list my favourite quotes from the hotlinked book title. . . 

Posts about Quotes . . . 


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