A few years ago, I read the book in about a day because it was an easy read and rather interesting.
I didn't think too much about it, but mainly, "well, anything is possible."
However, a couple things stood out as a little fishy, which caused me to wonder, "Why do pastors always come out with books like these? Why can't someone who's not in ministry write about visiting heaven?" But then again, I can't argue with his experience.
Dave, on the other hand, has read plenty of books like "90 Minutes in Heaven", "23 Minutes in Hell", and others. He was more of a skeptic than I was. So when Heaven is for Real came out in movie theaters, he wasn't so sure about seeing it. However, something must have peeked his interest because we ended up seeing it.
I was very, very impressed with it.
It wasn't a corny Christian movie (however, some people may disagree) with terrible acting, but it was very real, humorous, and thought provoking.
One thing I think they did very well, was the portrayal of doubting and questioning.
Although Colton (3 year old boy who visited heaven) was convincing, his dad (the pastor), had a really hard time believing him. The movie really showed Todd and his wife struggling with the revelation that Colton kept bringing up.
I've said before, there's nothing wrong to question.
It is often in our questioning, that leads us to a deeper faith.
I also liked how they focused on the goodness of God.
There is a scene where Todd is talking to one of his church member's who lost her son in the war.
Their dialogue consisted of showing that God didn't favor Todd over her because Colton was still living rather than her son.
He made it clear to her that God loves her just the same and that unfortunately, death is a part of life.
I think it presented such a profound truth, that just because something bad happens in your life, doesn't mean God loves you any less than anyone else.
He loves us all the same with an unconditional love, but it doesn't take away the truth that evil still exists in the world and death happens.
However, Jesus says, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Lastly, I think the most important truth they portrayed through the movie was that "neither death nor life can separate us from the love of God" (Romans 8:38-39). Even if Colton was making all this up, he shed light onto the wonderful news that God gives us peace through everlasting life. We don't really know what heaven is like, but we should rest assured, that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
He offers us peace in knowing that He never leaves us, He loves us with an everlasting love, and He gives us the gift of eternal life.
So whether or not, you believe in near death experiences or visions, this movie is still enjoyable and portrays many important points that we should remember every day.