When Colton Burpo was three-years-old, he had almost died from an untreated case of burst appendix. His prognosis was so grim, in fact, that doctors didn’t expect him to live. Not only did Colton survive the experience, but over the course of the next several years he began telling his parents about what he experienced while he was on the operation table. That experience was nothing short of holy time travel where he “left” his body to travel to heaven.
His father, Pastor Todd Burpo, eventually wrote the bestselling book Heaven is for Real about Colton’s experiences. That book is now a feature film, arriving in theatres April 16 starring Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo.
While at first Colton’s parents were in shock over Colton’s revelations about heaven, it soon became clear that Colton had information that could only have come from a source outside himself. Not only did Colton speak about deep theological issues that he had never heard in Sunday school, he spoke with intimate knowledge about family members he had never met or even knew he had.
Todd Burpo himself is the first to say that he does not know why his son was chosen. He speaks often and candidly, in the forward of the book as well as in interviews, how Colton is just like every ordinary kid: He argues with his siblings, loves action figures and is not a huge fan of school. Pastor Todd has no idea why his son was chosen to go on such a journey, but he is 100% convinced that God loves children. And really… that last statement? Todd doesn’t have a choice but to believe it.
At one point in Colton’s life, for example, his son was known to say over and over (and over and over) “Dad, Jesus loves the children… Don’t forget! Jesus LOVES the children.”
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. —Matthew 19:14
While the good pastor admits he was growing weary of the constant reminder, he did take it to heart, right down to how he and his wife approach teaching children at their church.
It could be speculated, also, that maybe Colton was chosen for a reason – that reason being that this young boy was just pure enough in spirit to be able to approach the throne room of God without cynicism and doubt – and approach the throne room he did!
You’ll have to watch the movie yourself to see more details, but for now, Believe.com has 10 main things that Colton saw in heaven that just might make you remember to approach the Lord with the heart and mind of a little kid.
INTERESTING NOTE: Everything that Colton spoke about was in exact correlation to scripture. At one point, Colton’s dad tried to trip him up with fake statements about heaven. Colton would disagree with him every time, explaining with vehemence the actual truth of what he saw. See the notes below for more examples!
Ten Things Colton Saw and Heard to Convince His Family and the World that Heaven is for Real
1. Deceased Siblings: Colton told his parents that he had a sibling in heaven. He had never been told by his parents that his mom had a miscarriage before he was born. Not only did he reveal that his sibling was alive and waiting to meet Colton’s parents, but he told her that she was a girl.
- • Mothers and fathers who have lost children – you will see your babies again one day!
2. Deceased Relatives: Colton talked a lot about meeting “Pop” – his father’s dad who died when Todd was only nine. Later, Colton was shown a picture of his grandfather. Colton did not recognize the old man in the photo, but later – when he saw a shot of Pop as a young man – he shouted, “That’s Pop!”
- • Everyone will meet family members in heaven that they were not able to meet on earth.
3. Ages in Heaven: Colton said that everyone in heaven was young. No one was sick and everyone was at peace. There was much joy and peace and praising.
- • Do not worry about illness on earth. You will have peace and joy beyond your wildest imaginations, with strong and youthful bodies.
4. Most everyone has wings!: Colton spoke often about how everyone had wings in heaven. Many adults and angels had bigger wings, but he had smaller ones. And they flew everywhere.
- • There will be no transportation issues in heaven. Don’t have a ride now? No worries – your wings are waiting.
5. Jesus Did Not Have Wings: Colton said that Jesus was the one person that did not have wings. Instead, he went “up and down like an elevator.”
- • Jesus went up on the cross, then went down, but then rose up. No wings required!
6. Jesus Hears Your Prayers (even the angry ones): Colton’s dad asked him why Colton came back to earth if it was so nice in heaven. Colton’s response was that Jesus wanted to answer his dad’s prayer. As it turned out, Colton’s father was furious and railing at God for allowing his son to go to surgery and almost die. Todd was reminded about something he’ll never forget again – that God loves us, even when we are angry at Him.
- • Your heavenly father loves you, even when you are not so in love with Him.
7. There are great seats in Heaven: When Colton was asked where he sat in heaven, he had a simple response: “In Jesus’ lap!” He went on to say that Jesus taught him a lot about who He was, how much He loved him, and even introduced him to some great people.
- • You might not get V.I.P. seats on earth, but you’ll get the best seat in the house on the Lord’s lap when you die!
8. There are more than celestial stars in the sky – we’re talking celebrities! Colton said he met with famous disciples, including John the Baptist. Colton’s father was floored by this remark. How would a four-year-old know about who John the Baptist was, let alone chat about knowing him on a personal level?
- • The martyrs and disciples aren’t just storybook characters. They were real, and you’ll get to converse with them one day.
9. There are animals in Heaven: Colton says that animals are a lively part of heaven, from tigers and lions to dogs and cats. The difference with the wild beasts? They are not wild in heaven.
- • Scripture doesn’t talk much about our “pets” – but many grieving pet owners will feel peace knowing that they might just see Fido again. (Take Colton’s word on this, not ours!)
10. Rainbows, light and darkness: Rainbows are everywhere in heaven, according to the young Colton. The colors are so bright it’s hard to describe. In fact, as mentioned above, Colton’s dad tried to trip up his young son by asking him about night time in heaven. Colton was outraged, scolding his father that there is no darkness in heaven. Jesus and God are the light!
- • No worries about getting depressed from bad weather in heaven. The “Son” is the only “sun” you’ll need.
Colton has way more to say than what we can publish in this article. Don’t Believe (pun intended) us? Read the book and go see the movie April 16!
Release date: April 16
Official trailer: Heaven is for Real