When I left the theater after seeing Heaven is for Real, it was as if some of the noise of the world had been turned down and was replaced with a quiet deep within my soul. It didn’t hit me full force the way some movies do, it was more like it settled itself around me gently. If it had been a butterfly it would have landed on my shoulder and fluttered there like grace.
I walked past the brilliant yellow of the Palo Verde trees splashed against a sapphire sky. I heard the melody of bird-song interrupted by horns blaring, aggressive drivers speeding past the busy street just outside the parking lot; people in a hurry, people stressed and angry.
People needing a touch of Heaven.
I passed two men having a conversation where “F bombs” shot out like verbal canons, just another instance, one of many sprinkled throughout an ordinary day that call for some kind of redemption. Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to get home and settle on my patio by the garden with a tall glass of tea, savoring the quiet, harboring my reflection.
Looking around, it’s easy to see that our world needs the hope of Heaven.
As I walked out through the parking lot, it was easy for me to imagine a purer, better place right alongside this one. Little four-year old Colton Burpo says he was there, and ten years later, he still hasn’t changed his story.
I guess I am one of the lucky ones. I’ve never not believed in Heaven. For me, this film just echoed what I already believe, rather, what I already know. Because I believe in God and a perfectly good God has to live in a perfectly good place.
The question then becomes a provocative one: If we say we believe that Heaven is real, are we living as though it is? And as Colton’s Dad asks his congregation in the movie: If we truly believed what we say we do, how would our lives look different?
I drove home reflecting on all those times in my life when God has ripped the fabric of my world apart just enough to let the rays of Heaven leak through. Just enough to show me that I didn’t have to despair. Things that I know that I know that I know, couldn’t have come from anywhere else.
And when you have seen someone die with eyes full of hope, already filled with the reflection of Heaven, it’s easy to believe.
When Jesus came to this earth, He brought Heaven with Him. That’s what He meant when He said “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Right here, right now. And when He left, He talked of going to a physical place, a place we can scarcely begin to imagine. A place He’s preparing for us!
It’s easy for children to believe in Heaven. All too often we undermine their simple faith with our own doubts. Sometimes I think we are almost afraid to really believe. I think one of the best things about the film is that it brings up some questions that we all must ask ourselves.
If we really believed as we say we do, how would our lives look different? I wonder.