CONFIRMATIONS THAT DEMAND ATTENTION
by Paula Yingst
FOR SOME PEOPLE, BELIEVING in heaven is a no-brainer and doesn’t
take any conscious effort. For others – especially those deeply ensnared in the
material world – it’s just as easy not to believe in life after death, and there is
little or no way to convince them otherwise.
When I read about heaven in the book of Revelation, I can envision it as a
real place where I will one day reside for eternity. But, I had no convincing
proof that my belief is not just a personal fantasy. That was before I heard
about Colton Burpo and Akiane Kramaric – two children whose incredible
stories are told by their parents in Akiane by Foreli Kramarik and Heaven Is
For Real by Todd Burpo (with Lynn Vincent). These two kids, who had not
met each other at the time of this revelation, have a connection that is …
I don’t remember when I first became aware of Akiane’s supernatural gift for
painting and poetry. But I do recall looking her up on the Internet to view
the creations that I had heard about. I wanted to see them with my own eyes,
because the story I’d heard seemed quite hard to fathom.
I discovered that the Lithuanian-American Akiane began sharing visions
of heaven with her parents when she was four years old. One morning she
whispered to her mother, “Today I met God.” Since her mother and father
knew nothing at all about God, Foreli Kramarik wasn’t sure how to respond
to her daughter’s pronouncement, so she asked, “What is God?”
Akiane replied, “God is light – warm and good. It knows everything and talks
with me. It is my parent.” In complete disbelief, Foreli continued groping for
“Why did you think it was God?”
Akiane confidently answered, “Just like I know you are my mommy, and you
know I am Akiane.”
“Who even taught you such a word God?”
Akiane replied, “You won’t understand.”
And she was right. Her mother and father could not understand. But they kept
talking with their little girl and trying to remain open to the incomprehensible
information that she was willing to share about God and heaven.
The entire story of their journey from spiritual ignorance to acceptance of
Christianity is well documented, so I won’t try to paraphrase it here. What I
need you to know is that Akiane began drawing portraits when she was four.
Her drawings were so professional looking by the time she was five that people
refused to believe she had drawn them. When she was eight, she painted a
portrait of Jesus as she had seen him in heaven. And that is where Colton
Burpo’s journey intersects with Akiane’s.
Colton was three years and ten months old when he lay on an operating table
while surgeons struggled to repair his ruptured appendix and save the little
boy’s life. He was officially four and still recovering from the surgery when
he began talking about Jesus and the angels that he had seen while he was
in heaven. This came as a huge surprise to his father, Pastor Todd, because
there was no evidence that Colton had died for even a moment during the
When Colton was seven, his mother, Sonja, saw a CNN report about Akiane
that had aired in December 2006 when she was twelve years old. Sonja
realized that Akiane’s descriptions of heaven were remarkably similar to
Colton’s. Akiane described Jesus as pure and very masculine. “He’s really
strong and big. And his eyes are just beautiful.”
At that time, Sonja and Todd had been playing a game with their son for
several years. Whenever they came across a portrait of Jesus that an artist had
rendered, they would ask, “Does that look like him?” Colton would study
the picture then patiently explain why the likeness was just not right. And
he would comment, “His eyes are so pretty!” So when Todd saw the portrait
that Akiane had painted, he called Colton to look at it and asked, “What’s
wrong with this one?”
After a long, hypnotic moment, Colton studied the picture then said, “Dad,
that one’s right.”
When I heard that phenomenal story, it became mine as well. And now that
you’re aware of it, it has become ours – Akiane’s, Colton’s, mine, and yours.
I don’t know about you, but these accounts by two very young, innocent
children have in many ways confirmed what I believe about heaven. I will read
their testimonies again and again when I need comforting and reassurance.
And I will study Akiane’s portrait of Jesus when I need to be reminded of
what he actually looks like.
A RUST REMOVER: Internet search for Colton Burpo and Akiane. As you
read their incredible testimonies, pray for the veil to be removed that separates
each of us from the heavenly realms, so that you too can believe.