Archive for August, 2011

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven

By Karen Gross

This book is so amazing that I know I cannot do it justice with this review, but I will give it a try. Regardless of your religious beliefs, this New York Times Bestseller should be on your ‘must read this summer’ list.

Six year old Alex Malarkey died in a horrific car accident in 2004. He saw five angels lift his father’s body out of the driver’s seat and lay him in the ditch beside the car. Then he went through a long, bright white tunnel. He didn’t like the music in the tunnel. But then he got to Heaven, and there was powerful music, which he loved. He saw the five angels and his Daddy in Heaven. Alex saw that his father had injuries as bad as his own, but God was healing him in Heaven and sending him back. Daddy asked God if he could trade places with Alex, but God said no. Then Alex saw his Daddy’s spirit return to his body next to the smashed car.

Alex can’t say how much time he spent in Heaven. He says that time in Heaven has no past, or future, it’s just always now. He saw one hundred and fifty pure, white angels with fantastic wings who were all calling his name. They told him to go back. He did go back, but Jesus stayed with him and held him as he watched the doctors in the emergency room work on his body. The accident left his body paralyzed, but the time spent in heaven gave him knowledge and wisdom far beyond his years.

This is a true story, written mostly by Alex’s father Kevin, but with portions written by eye witnesses, paramedics, doctors and other medical professionals who treated Alex, family members (including Alex’s mom Beth, and Kevin’s father who is a medical doctor), pastors, and others who have played a part in Alex’s life. There is also a page or two at the end of each chapter written by Alex himself, who was twelve at the time the book was published in 2010. The portions written by Alex were not edited in any way.

The Malarkey family was a typical American family, except for the fact that they had four children aged six and under!  The youngest was a newborn – just home from the hospital the day before. (According to America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2010, the average household size declined to 2.59 in 2010, from 2.62 people in 2000.)

On Sunday, November 14, 2004, Kevin and Beth were trying to get everybody ready for church, “fighting the forces of chaos” (which I can completely relate to, although I only have two children). It was finally decided that Kevin would take Alex to church, while Beth would stay home with the three little ones. Little did they know that in a few short hours, their world would change, and the word “chaos” would take on a whole new meaning.

On the way home from church, Kevin was talking to Beth on his cell phone while driving. Alex interrupted to say, “Dad, I’m hungry. When are we going to be home?” Kevin, still on the phone, turned to answer Alex, and then in Kevin’s words: “The deafening crunch of metal ripping metal flashed and then faded into brilliant silence.” (p. 7)

The rest of the book recalls one miracle after another. Alex’s injuries were severe. A senior medical officer on the scene told a police officer to contact the coroner’s office and cancel the MedFlight, but by then the chopper was already landing. Alex was flown to Columbus Children’s Hospital. The doctors in the trauma room did not expect him to live. He had suffered an internal decapitation – only skin, muscles and ligaments were holding his head to his body.

The first miracle was that Alex survived at all, and that Kevin sustained no serious injuries from the accident. Alex remained in a coma for two months. Kevin and Beth’s home was a ninety minute drive from Children’s Hospital, and they had three little children, including a newborn.

The Malarkey family experienced the love and care of God more during those two months than they could ever imagine. They had just moved to a new town and had just begun to attend a new church. Between family, friends from their new church and friends from back home, they had meals, childcare, and all of their financial needs met. They were surrounded by an army of prayer warriors in the hospital and at home.

There are just so many stories that Kevin relates about miracles in this book; so many answers to prayer; so many “Divine Coincidences” – I will just relate one more. Chapter six is about a surgery that Alex’s doctors planned to do to fuse the vertebrae in his neck. The downside of this surgery would be that Alex would never regain full movement in his neck. Kevin and Beth agreed very reluctantly, as this would impede his movement when Alex was fully healed, as they and “Alex’s Army” of prayer warriors had faith would happen eventually.

The night before the scheduled surgery, a friend named Sue was sitting and praying at Alex’s bedside. At about 3 am, she felt the presence of three angels. They were standing behind Alex, with their hands on his neck.

The next day, Kevin and Beth were informed that the surgery was unnecessary. The doctors concluded that the vertebrae had healed without medical intervention. They had no explanation how that could have happened, but the x-rays before and after clearly proved healing.

A few days later, a complete stranger named Melissa phoned, and told Beth that she had seen a vision of Alex and angels. She painted what she saw, and asked if she could send it. When the painting arrived, Kevin and Beth were awestruck – it showed three angels behind Alex’s bed, with their hands on his neck – exactly what Sue described had happened the night before the scheduled surgery to fuse the vertebrae in his neck was cancelled.

The miracles got more amazing. When Alex came out of his coma and regained the use of his voice, he astonished everyone with the stories of where he had been and what he had experienced in his spirit while his body lay in a hospital bed.

Kevin was leery about believing Alex at first, but there was no way for Alex to know all that he knew. Alex told his father details of the accident, even things that happened after the MedFlight helicopter left. He remembered being in the hospital emergency room, watching from the ceiling. He said that Jesus was there with him, and held him, so he was not afraid. Alex noted that the doctors and other medical workers were sad and talked a lot about him not surviving. He saw them attach a steel bolt to his head, and when they started putting something down his throat, Jesus moved him into Heaven so that he would not watch what they were doing. He didn’t want Alex to remember later and be scared.

This book was so fascinating; I would love to quote everything that Alex said about his time in Heaven, but I would rather you read the book.

Alex is twelve years old now. He doesn’t really like all of the attention he gets. When people tell him that he is amazing, he tells them, “God is amazing. I’m just a kid.” Although in some ways he is a normal twelve year old, he has a connection with Jesus and with angels that astounds anyone who spends time with him. He still visits Heaven occasionally, and he frequently sees and communicates with angels.

Some may ask why God chose to let Alex survive the accident but remain a quadriplegic? Alex has been healed in increments, which have been medically astonishing, but a full healing all at once would surely silence all naysayers. For that matter, couldn’t God have just prevented the accident in the first place? Yes, I believe He could. But that is not what God chose to do for Alex.

Kevin says of his son, “when people ask me if my faith is shaken because Alex hasn’t been fully healed, I can respond with a firm no. Certainly Alex is going to be fully healed, whether here on earth or in Heaven. How that occurs is God’s choice, yet I am totally convinced that his healing will occur in this life.

“God has touched so many lives and brought so much good out of Alex’s pilgrimage that I know God is not only directing His plan, but He is also directing the timing of His plan. That’s where our confident hope rests.

And . . . It Isn’t Over Yet!

Spiritual Warfare: (an addition to the article)

Right after the accident, after he saw the angels carry his father out of the car, he saw Satan in the front passenger seat of the car. Satan told him “Your Daddy is dead and it’s all your fault.” But then he went to Heaven and everything was perfect.

After Alex came out of the coma and regained his voice, he asked his father repeatedly, “Are you my father?” Kevin thought this was a sign of memory loss, but years later, Alex told him it was because the devil told him his father was dead.

Alex is able to see angels and demons. He says that there is a spiritual war that never stops – angels against demons. Sometimes he hasn’t been able to visit Heaven because there was too much warfare going on. He says that it is scary when he sees a demon, but his daddy taught him how to pray to make them go away: “Devil – or demons – in Jesus’ name, leave my room and leave this house. By the blood of Jesus, I command you to go. Leave me alone.”

Alex says that people are always curious to know about demons. He knows much more than he wants to about the devil and demons, but he doesn’t like to talk about them. He does give a very detailed description of what they look like and the lies that they tell. When angels come to visit him, he knows each one by name, but he says that one demon is just like another to him.

There is also a lot that Alex has learned about Heaven that he is not allowed to tell. He says that we have to wait to know some things.

Taken from THE BOY WHO CAME BACK FROM HEAVEN by Kevin Malarkey. Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Kevin Malarkey. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved

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