Jerry Sittser is Professor and Chair of Theology at Whitworth University. He holds a master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and a doctorate in the history of Christianity from the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including A Grace Disguised and The Will of God as a Way of Life. Married to Patricia, he is the father of three children and two step-children, all grown.
Now he asks: How do we live meaningfully, even fruitfully, in this world and at the same time long for heaven? How do we respond to the paradox of being a new creature in Christ even though we don’t always feel or act like one? How can we trust God is involved in our story when our circumstances seem to say he isn’t?
While A Grace Disguised explored how the soul grows through loss, A Grace Revealed brings the story of Sittser’s family full circle, revealing God’s redeeming work in the midst of circumstances that could easily have destroyed them. As Sittser reminds us, our lives tell a good story after all. A Grace Revealed will helps us understand and trust that God is writing a beautiful story in our own lives.
“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said. “Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.
Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery–and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.
With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”
Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.
Continue the Burpos story in Heaven Changes Everything: The Rest of Our Story. Heaven Is for Real also is available in Spanish, El cielo es real.