Heaven is for Real – Book Quotes
In that moment, I realized for the first time that I had been feeling like I’d been in a fight. For months, I’d had my guard up, waiting for the next punch life could throw. Now, though, I felt completely relaxed for the first time since the previous summer.
If I’d let my mind roll with that boxing metaphor just a little longer, I might’ve followed it to its logical conclusion: In a boxing match, the fighters absorb some vicious blows because they’re ready for them. And usually the knockout punch is the one they didn’t see coming. (p 17)
I didn’t feel good about having been so angry with God. When I was so upset, burning with righteous anger that he was about to take my child, guess who was holding my child? Guess who was loving my child, unseen? As a pastor, I felt accountable to others pastors for my own lack of faith. (p 83)
“At that time, when I was so upset and so outraged, can you believe that God chose to answer that prayer?” I said. Can you believe that I can pray a prayer like that, and God would still answer it ‘yes’?”
What had I learned? I was reminded yet again that I could be real with God, I told my fellow pastors. I learned that I didn’t have to offer some kind of churchy, holy-sounding prayer in order to be heard in heaven. “You might as well tell God what you think,” I said. “He already knows it anyway.”
Most importantly of all, I learned that I am heard. WE all are. I had been a Christian since childhood and a pastor for half my life, so I believed that before. But now I knew it. How? As the nurses wheeled my son away screaming, “Daddy, Daddy, don’t let them take me!”… when I was angry at God because I couldn’t go to my son, hold him, and comfort him, God’s son was holding my son in his lap. (p 83)
Colton, a little guy, was talking about being so big—but in the next breath he was talking about love. For one thing, God’s size clearly wasn’t scary to Colton, but it was also interesting to me that as eager as Colton was to tell about what God looked like, he was just as eager to tell me what God felt like toward us. (p 100)
We might have grown weary of Colton’s nonstop message about Jesus’ love for kids, but it did transform the way we approached children’s ministry in our church. Sonja had always been torn between singing on the worship team during Sunday morning services and going downstairs to teach Sunday school for the kids. And while she knew that statistics show most people who profess faith in Christ do so at a young age, it was Colton’s passionate insistence on Christ’s love for children that gave Sonja fresh energy for our kids’ ministry.
I also became bolder about asking church members to serve in our children’s ministry. Over the years, I’d had to fight to get people to sign up to teach Sunday school. They would give me the verbal stiff-arm, saying, “I did my turn last year,” or “I’m too old for that.”
Now, when I ran into those same excuses, I lovingly reminded people that Jesus clearly viewed children as precious—and that if he loved kids enough to say that adults should be more like them, we should spend more time loving them too. (p 106)
Early on, we developed the practice of giving the kids specific things to pray for, not only to build their faith, but also because praying for others is a way to develop a heart for needs outside your own. (p 125)