We’ve all experienced it: we are cruising through a phase of our lives and then something unexpected happens.
What has been a priority for us plummets instantly and the new reality in our lives blasts its way to the number one position. Mark Saumure’s jolting earthquake struck during his Grade 12 year.
Mark and his older sister had the privilege of growing up in a home where their parents loved the Lord and honoured God’s Word, the Bible. He was privileged to memorize many verses about God’s love, the human condition, Christ’s death on the Cross and the availability of eternal life as a gift through Jesus Christ. But knowing all of this did not make Mark a Christian. Being raised in a Christian home and attending a Christian church does not make anyone a Christian.
In his teens, Mark was active in water and snow sports and had a job in a restaurant. But spiritually, Mark’s teen years saw him take an obvious nosedive. Mark relayed, “I must admit that going to church as I called it was more a chore than anything else … When I entered high school, I became ashamed of my parent’s beliefs and I rejected God’s word. I did whatever I could to show my school friends that I was not a Christian.”
Mark started to experience severe pain in his lower back and legs. He wrote: “I was diagnosed with a malignant form of cancer. This news really shook me up! It really made me decide what was important and what was not. However, I continued on in my ungodly ways for the next few months thinking, like most teenagers I know, that I was totally indestructible.
The real turning point came when my doctor looked at me very seriously and said: “Mark, your time is limited. My guess is that you have from one to two years left.” His words stabbed me. This was the first time I ever really realized that I was going to die.”
A jolting earthquake like Mark experienced, is bound to change one’s thought patterns. During his months in hospital, Mark was searching his Bible, looking for peace and the forgiveness of sins. He wanted to be right with God.
Mark read Bible verses like these: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
Rather than simply resting on the authoritative and reliable Word of God – he struggled with these two verses and others. He had memorized them in Sunday school years earlier and now he was trying to ‘crack them open’ – as if they contained some hidden and obscure meaning that he had to decode and figure out.
He finally faced the reality that he was powerless to save himself by achieving some deep understanding of these Bible verses. Mark said: “I really didn’t understand what more I had to do to be saved. It was then that I understood: there’s nothing for me to do! It has all been done! Christ died on the cross for me! That is enough! At that very moment, Christ became my Saviour!”
Mark, in writing about his own spiritual journey, asked his readers: “Christ did it all! He simply wants you to believe on Him! Nothing more! What could be simpler? What a joy knowing Christ as my Saviour has brought to me.”
No one ends up in Heaven by chance or because God’s scales tipped in their favourThe radiation helped for a short time. But Mark’s days were numbered. The doctor was right; 411 days after he trusted Christ as his personal Saviour, he took his last breath and went to his eternal home in Heaven.
Will you be a Christian before you take your last breath? Actually, it’s incredibly reckless to think you can wait until you’re nearing the end to get right with God. Mark had some days to prepare. Most don’t have that luxury.
Many people hope they will end up in Heaven. But with Mark – and for everyone else who has personally trusted Christ as their Saviour – there is 100% assurance and confidence about their eternal destiny. No one ends up in Heaven by chance or because God’s scales tipped in their favour.
Do you have a conscious moment in your life when you appreciated Jesus Christ in a way you had never valued Him before? A moment when you understood that He died for your sins and you embraced Him as your Saviour? Without that moment – you are not yet prepared to die. Without that moment, you are not yet a Christian. Without that moment, you are not yet traveling the road to Heaven.
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