Friday, May 27, 2011

The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven By Kevin & Alex Malarkey

What if there was a person who had been to heaven and stayed long enough to learn about it?
In November of 2004 William Alexander Malarkey and his father were in an auto accident. Alex, six at the time, was not expected to live. He was in a coma for two months. He was in heaven during that time.
The narrative of the accident alternates between Kevin and Alex (with periodic additions by others). Kevin struggled with guilt, knowing that he was responsible for the accident (there had been an oncoming car in a blind spot at an intersection). Alex had had his first and second vertebra separated. They were at a forty five degree angle. He had suffered an internal decapitation. Only skin, muscle and ligaments were holding his head on his body.
He was not expected to live, and, if he did, was expected to be severely brain damaged. He was being kept alive by machines.
A Christian paramedic had prayed for Alex. He encouraged Beth to believe Alex would live and be restored. She had to keep faith.
Kevin notes the large number of those visiting Alex. A prayer vigil was organized for his room. On the third day the medical staff was convinced Alex would survive. A web site was created for people praying with updates and feedback opportunities. The pressure put a strain on their marriage.
While people were praying for Alex to survive, he was in the presence of God. He had a body like a human body but a lot bigger. Alex could only see up to His neck because no one could see His face or they would die. He didn't see any people, only God, Jesus, and angels. He was inside the gate. (Alex suggests that when people say they have been to heaven and seen people they know, they are outside the gate, an “outer” heaven. There is a hole in the outer heaven that goes to hell.)
Everything is more intense in the “inner” heaven, where Alex was. It is the place God has prepared for us. When asked about other things in the inner heaven, Alex said he was not allowed to talk about some of it - God said.
“Perfect” is Alex's favorite word to describe heaven. Even the most beautiful thing we see here is warped compared to heaven.
Angels are neither boys or girls. They are white and have wings. Some are as tall as adults while others were as short as children. And the devil, well, you'll just have to read the book for his unusual description.
In the midst of this trial, an ice storm struck the area. Many trees fell on their property, including one on their home. They had to sleep at Beth's sister's house for a week.
Kevin shares his thoughts on trials in general. He takes the reader through Alex's operations, the unexpected healings, eye movement after almost two months, then a smile, the move to a rehab center, the possibility of no further recovery, his slow but sure progress, then a spoken word, then more and finally Alex began to talk about his experience.
No, Alex has not been completely healed. He is in a motorized wheel chair and uses his mouth to control a mouse for computer work. As Kevin writes, “Alex's body is not where we wish it were, but his spirit is far beyond where we could have ever imagined when we prayed, at his birth, that our son would walk closely with God.”
Even without Alex's experiences of heaven, this is an encouraging book. It is encouraging to read about the many people who helped, who prayed, who supported the family in so many ways. It is also encouraging to read about the angelic visitors (independent people verifying). Kevin is honest about the pressure that was put on their marriage and their daily lives. He knows it was not his own strength that carried them through the ordeal.
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Tyndale House Publishers, 248 pages.

I received an egalley from the publishers for the purpose of this review.

1 comment:

Ceska said...

This is an amazing story. I wanted to read it because it was real. I read a lot of fiction, but stories like these excite me. They validate my faith, which is always the coolest thing. My favorite parts of the book were Alex's parts. The book is mostly written from Dad's point of view. He explains what happened. The accident, going to the hospital, waiting, talking with his wife, the doctors, pastors, and friends. But Alex's words are interspersed, telling us where he was and what he was doing while everyone else was waiting. It's fascinating. I also enjoyed seeing the stories of other people-people who felt called to pray for Alex and later shared their story with his parents. God works in amazing ways. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in life, we think we know how God works. I don't think we have a clue just how much God is at work in ways we'll never see until Heaven.