God Longs to Answer Your Difficult Questions

Todd Burpo says God changed his family when Colton, then 4, had the vision of heaven in 2003.  Though a pastor, Todd says his life has not always been “all that put together.”  Life issues robbed him of his joy and weighed him down emotionally.  “My son’s confidence, innocence, simple childlike faith and matter-of-factness about heaven and the God who calls heaven home astounded me,” says Todd.  “In fact, it just plain energized me.”  He says today Colton misses heaven and his sister Colby and still has hope for returning to heaven.  “He is drawn to the bigness of God,” he says.  “A small god is no good to anyone.”  When Colton saw God, he told his dad, He’s so big and He loves us so much!  Todd says we need to look at the bigness of God and understand that we should look at our relationship with Him differently than our relationship with others.  Sometimes we treat God as if He is on our level.  “It’s hard to imagine that He’s way bigger than us.”  Todd reminds us that God orchestrates things and events to get our attention.

While checking into a hotel in Beverly Hills while filming the blockbuster movie, Heaven Is For Real, Todd says a bellhop who escorted them to their room mentioned that they were staying in a great room.  “Wow, the Force must be with you,” the bellhop exclaimed.  When Todd said it wasn’t the “force” but God’s favor, the bellhop changed the subject.  He began talking about “some kid who went to heaven” and that they were making a movie about it.  Then Todd said, “That’s me.  That’s my son you’re talking about and that’s why we’re here.”  The bellhop was shocked!  Todd then told the bellhop that God was trying to get his attention.  “Movies may refer to “the Force” at work on the big screen….but moments like this undeniably point us to the real God,” says Todd.  One of the men who produced the movie told Todd, I can’t sleep at night! God won’t let me.  I have to make this movie about what your son saw.  Todd says the producer came to the conclusion that God was the One interrupting his life and sleep.   Todd believes the struggles we face and the pain we incur are things God is using to get our attention. 

The Burpos had to work hard at keeping some semblance of normalcy in their lives after the blockbuster movie, Heaven Is For Real.  Todd had done over 300 interviews in a 70-day span at that time.  He was exhausted.  One day he got a phone call that his dad’s health was failing.  Todd went to visit him in the nursing home.  His dad hung on for 12 days.  “I prayed that God would just take my dad and end the suffering,” says Todd.  “But God wouldn’t answer that prayer as my father wasted away without food, water, or an IV.  I just didn’t get it.” Todd says his father was mentally ill and that his relationship with his dad was difficult, particularly growing up.  “Somehow, I grew in my faith and somehow this mixed up kid became a pastor,” he says. Todd prayed for years for his dad to be healed.  As Todd presided over his dad’s funeral, he looked at his father’s casket saying, “Here lies my greatest unanswered prayer.” He heard stories of how well his dad treated others in the nursing home.  “I’m hanging on to the answer that one day God is going to give me that chance to meet my real dad.”  

Many people pray and don’t get answers.  Todd says, “When we pray for something and think God should have answered may challenge our understanding of God.”  “We will have trouble in this world.  He prepares us to endure the storms.”  He says God used the struggles he had with his dad to help others going through the same thing.  “I couldn’t sort out what my dad was responsible for mentally.  But God told me He knew the difference.”
Colton is a freshman in Bible college and is pursuing a worship ministry degree.  Cassie, a senior in college, finished up a degree in worship ministry and is now pursuing a degree in accounting. 

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Best-selling author his latest: God Is For Real, Faith Words 2017

Previous book, Heaven Is For Real sold more than 7 million copies and declared “best-selling book of 2011” by Nielson BookScan

Pastor, Crossroads Wesleyan Church

Volunteer fireman; Former chaplain for Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighter’s Association

Graduate: Oklahoma Wesleyan University, 1991 summa cum laude, BA Theology

Ordained minister since 1994

Wife: Sonja

Children: Cassie, Colton, Colby (sister in heaven)


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