Sometimes friends pass a book along your way and you don’t read it.
There are many reasons, I suppose.
You think it is not your style, not within your favorite genre. You don’t like the cover, don’t like the author, don’t want to hear the message. You are too busy doing this that and the other.
Any of these reasons could have applied when one of my friends handed me Heaven is For Real. I thought it was going to be packed with Christian gobbley-gook that I was not interested in hearing or reading.
That is until six months later when I made the effort to READ the book.
I was having one of ‘those’ days in which every plan I made was being re-routed.
The youngest declared he was sick with a sore throat and a slight fever. So then my morning was going to be spent in the doctor’s office. I had cleaned out this book from my bedside stash and decided to read it before giving it back to my friend.
After the son threw up not once but several times in the lobby before even seeing the doctor, I sat in the waiting room and started reading. Soon I was several chapters through and we were called in for a weighing. Then we were shuffled off to a patient room.
Sam curled up in a chair and slept some more while I continued reading. Once we were seen by the doc and sent on our merry way with a phoned-in prescription I read the book while in the drive-through line at the pharmacy.
Later that day, when I sort-of caught up on all of the things that needed to be done, I finished reading the book.
The story is about a 3-year-old boy who suffers through a burst appendix – that doctors miss at first – and nearly dies. But he doesn’t. Somehow through the power of prayer and God’s mercy this boy lives. But as the months pass by, he begins to talk about his experiences during that time.
He talks about singing angels, about Heaven, jewels, gates, God, and Jesus.
The boy talks about what they look like, what the angels are willing to sing, the people he sees and the places he goes. None of this happens right away and the parents are careful to not ask any leading questions. But it is a fascinating read as a parent struggles with his faith during the worst of times and then sees the fruit of his faith.
One question that comes up time and time again is what does Jesus look like? They boy and his family saw many pictures of Jesus and with nearly each one the boy said it was wrong. That is until the parents began sharing their story with others in public settings. That is when someone passes on a link of a story about another child who claims to have seen Jesus.
But this little girl drew a picture when she was 8-years-old. It is an incredible picture and not just because of the subject. It is a beautifully done portrait of a man who could have been done by a person twice her age.
The detail of the picture in the beard and the cloth is incredible.
Now being the blasphemous that I am, the first thought in my mind was “Jesus looks like Kenny Loggins?”
That is until I was drawn in by the eyes. Green eyes do that to me. While one conversation at my sunday school has been about what was it about Jesus that made people follow him, I look at a picture like this and know that there was immediate trust.
In those eyes, there is a steadiness that comforts and calms. He is a mix of European and Middle East. And that nose, so straight, almost Aquiline.
I could fall in love with this picture.
Now, would I recommend this book to you?
Yes, I would if you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian, I would ask that you give the book a chance. Read it, ruminate on it, shift through chapters. In the end, you may believe more or believe less.
But I guarantee it will make you think about Heaven and if you are going there.