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Jolting Earthquake Changes Teenager’s Thought Patterns

Personal Story of Mark Saumure

We’ve all experienced it: 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 #1 position in our life. Mark Saumure’s jolting earthquake struck in his second semester in Grade 12.

The real turning point came when my doctor looked at me earnestly 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. After all I was young, strong and healthy. I have many, many years left, I used to think; but how gullible I was to have believed that.

Christian Parents Don’t Produce Christian Kids
Mark was only a toddler when his parents trusted Christ as their personal Saviour. He 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. With a French-speaking background, Mark, at age 3, memorized and recited three English words at an annual Sunday School treat – “God is love.”

More than many kids in the community, Mark grew up being very familiar with 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.

    

Life at Home and in the Community
The Saumores lived near the Lake Eerie shores in Ontario, Canada - so swimming, boating and slalom water skiing and wake boarding were summer favourites. Mark was full of life and like most others his age, probably felt quite invincible. He started snow skiing at a young age and then progressed to snowboarding on the moguls.

In his teens, he crafted an impressive resume and landed a job working in food preparation for a restaurant. According to his mother, he learned to make a ‘mean’ Caesar salad – a favourite, the family continues to enjoy.

But spiritually, Mark’s teen years saw him take an obvious nosedive. His Christian parents wanted Mark to know the peace and joy of a personal relationship with Christ, so they made every effort to ensure he heard the good news from the Bible.

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. I got mixed up with the wrong crowd and did many dumb and stupid things. It is quite interesting to note that when times were good my friends stood by me; when times became tough and I needed a friend, they all deserted me!

          

Earthquake Strikes Unannounced
In Grade 12, Mark won the Euclid Award for Math sponsored by Waterloo University and he was planning to enrol in their computer science program. However, in the second semester of Grade 12 he started to experience severe pain in his lower back and legs.

Mark 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. After all, I was young, strong and healthy. I continued to think I had many, many years left; but how gullible I was to have believed that.”

Shocked into Reality – The Search Begins
Mark spent May, June and July at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto receiving treatment. A jolting earthquake like Mark experienced, is bound to change one’s thought patterns. Now he was secretly searching his Bible, looking for peace and the forgiveness of sins. Some nights he would read late into the night looking for God’s eternal salvation. He wanted to be right with God. But in his own words, he said he was too proud yet to tell his parents about his spiritual condition.

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.

Elusive Peace Finally Found
It was Thursday, August 3rd when Mark prayed earnestly to God for salvation. He was alone in his parents’ bedroom. He finally faced the reality that he was powerless to save himself by achieving some deep understanding of these Bible verses. In fact, if it took that, he despaired of ever being saved. He believed he would never be saved and would end up in Hell.

That Thursday, Mark said: “I really don’t understand what more I have 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!”

In writing his personal story of conversion, Mark recalled the jail manager’s question recorded in Acts Chapter 16 of the Bible. After the manager was jolted by an earthquake, he anxiously asked two Christian prisoners: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They responded: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Acts 16:30-31

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?”

When I read Mark’s brief story, I counted thirty-three exclamation marks – indicating how strongly he felt about these matters. Here is one paragraph in his story. Notice the exclamation marks but more importantly, reflect deeply on what he wanted to convey to you.

What a joy knowing Christ as my Saviour has brought to me. I used to think that Christians lived such a boring life. All they ever do is read the Bible and go to church; I don’t want that! How wrong I was. What a great life a Christian has! To be with him for eternity – one could be better!? The truth is, there is no real satisfaction in this world. The only satisfaction comes from Jesus!!!


Not Too Much Longer
The radiation helped for a short time. Mark returned to school in September 1995 to complete his Grade 13. He spoke to his friends about how they had to get right with God. In November, he invited his friends to attend his Christian baptism. He wanted them to see him being baptized as a public confession of his new-found faith in Christ.

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. Yes, Mark went to be with the Lord. A Christian for 4,864 hours before breathing his last. At a school memorial service, a teacher spoke of Mark’s shining light of testimony for Jesus Christ, his Saviour.

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.

Are You Ready?
Many people hope they will end up in Heaven. Many loved ones hope and pray they made it there. 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.

The earthquake of a dreaded diagnosis shook Mark to the core of his being. His goals and aspirations and dreams suddenly were turned on their head. Invincibility was replaced with vulnerability. The prospect of a long life was dashed by the probability of a very short one. His focus suddenly stretched out into after-death scenarios – heaven or hell.

Can you imagine how tragic this story would be if there was no August 03, 1995 in Mark Saumure’s life?

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.

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

What must I do to be saved?” The response? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Acts 16:30-31

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Comments

Anonymous
# Anonymous
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 7:48 PM
The Source of My Joy
Anonymous
# Anonymous
Tuesday, December 06, 2016 8:32 PM
You and Your Boat
Anonymous
# Anonymous
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 7:29 PM
Godly Living Hurts Sometimes
Anonymous
# Anonymous
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 8:09 AM
Lots of Talk and Impressive Words

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