90 Minutes in Heaven — Book Review

90 Minutes in Heaven by Rev. Don Piper is a book about life after death.  There have been many books about life after death, but this one is different.

Rev. Piper is a Baptist Minister in Texas who was involved in an automobile accident.  Authorities pronounced him dead at the scene.  He was driving a Ford Escort and the vehicle that struck him was an eighteen-wheeler that drove over the top of his car.  The semi also struck two other cars on the road which left the passengers of those vehicles with little or no injury.

The first chapter gives us a short background about a conference he had attended and an account Rev. Piper’s drive home to the Houston area.  He describes the weather, the road and the scenery right up to the point at which he sees the truck.  Then he found himself standing in a place he knew was heaven.

There was no tunnel through which he was pulled; no sense of being transported by the light.  He does remember a brilliant light that enveloped him, but that’s all.  He found himself filled with joy, standing in front of a gate and seeing a large crowd of people who were rushing toward him.

The description of  heaven is actually very short — only a few pages and this is one of the reasons I give  credence to the account.  Other books have been written by people who have died and gone to heaven — some of them very detailed in the description of their surroundings and activities — but the brevity of Rev. Piper’s description is compelling and believable.

The remainder of the book is more-or-less a chronology of his recovery — the doubts, the pain, the fatigue and his feelings about his situation.  His treatment consisted of wearing what is called a fixator.  This is a cage-like device that is placed around the limb with numerous bars and wires extending from it into his body.  Each day the screws on the fixator were adjusted so that his body would grow new bone to replace those that had been lost in the accident. But the book is about much more than that.

As a pastor, he had been accustomed to always giving support and aid to those who were hurting, but now the tables were turned.  He was now on the receiving  end of aid and comfort and he had difficulty accepting help from members of the congregation.  Eventually, a pastor friend of his pointed this out and gave him a hard talking-to, but Don eventually allowed others to do things for him and he allowed them into his personal life more and more.

In another chapter called “The New Normal” he describes his  realization that things are going to be different in his life as a result of the accident.  He won’t be able to snow ski again — no more surfing — no more squatting down to talk to the Sunday School kids.  He realized that was the old standard and it did not apply any more.

Yes, I said to myself, there are things I will never be able to do again.  I don’t like that and may even hate it, but that doesn’t change the way things are.  the sooner I make peace with that fact and accept the way things are, the sooner I’ll be able to live in peace and enjoy my new normalcy.“  (page 138)

Reverend Piper often asked himself, and God, why he had been allowed to live because he was in such pain.  The latter sections of the book describe instances in which people have needed encouragement to continue through similar hardships and pain that he had endured — and they always seemed to pop-up out of nowhere.  Just the fact that they knew he had gone through the same treatment that they were going through helped them to get well.

90 Minutes in Heaven is a book that I couldn’t put down once I started reading it.  It is a factual book and and emotional book.  It is filled with revelations of the miracles of modern medicine and the wonder of the human body to survive catastrophic trauma. It’s about ministering to others and about accepting ministry graciously.  It’s about Prayer, Faith, God and Jesus.

Pick up a copy and read it.  I have placed a link to this book on Amazon in the right sidebar for your convenience.

Merry Christmas.

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