Steve Marquez: Living on the Rock

Steve Marquez: Living on the Rock
Steve Marquez: Living on the Rock

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Calvary Chapel Pastor Steve Marquez: Living On The Rock

Devotional by Steve Marquez

Pastor Steve MarquezPeople who have been given the devastating news of their having a terminal illness are said to be in the “Stage 4” of life. Stage4 Ministries desires to serve them and their caregivers. The ministry is run by Steve and Monica Marquez. Steve, formerly pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Smith, AR, is a Stage 4 cancer patient fighting Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC), better known as kidney cancer. Steve and Monica are available to speak at churches or other groups to encourage people that they can have hope in this world and—through Christ—hope for the next. Visit for more information.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine [Jesus] and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24–27, ESV

People often ask me two questions when they hear my story. The first is, How did you get through everything you went through? and the second is How are you getting through now? Believe it or not, they are questions I have asked myself. How could I have gone through three major surgeries—a total of 23 hours of surgery—in only 11 days? During the longest surgery, the doctor inserted metal rods and screws into my back to support my spine after the previous surgery had removed two vertebrae. The cancer had eaten a quarter of the way through those vertebrae. A friend thought that he would read on Facebook at any time that I had gone to be with the Lord.

How is it possible that six years later I am holding the line with metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC), have had the lower lobe of my right lung removed, am now diagnosed with a secondary bladder cancer, and am still smiling? How can I speak at churches, write devotionals, minister to people who are dying, and be in the process of writing a book? Shouldn’t I be lying in bed waiting for my last breath? No.

Why? Because I made a choice long ago that profoundly changed who I was going to be and how I would be able to survive anything sent my way. What was that choice? I wish I could tell you that it was a choice to be a good person or to even have a good attitude, which is important. I wish I could tell you it was because I was a bastion of Bible knowledge and that in my deep understanding of theology and the letter of the law, I could have hope. Nope.

Years ago, when I was 16, I decided that when I would fight cancer someday, I would get through it. What was this monumental decision? No, I didn’t know I would get cancer, only that I would find strength in the decision to fight anything that came my way. What was it? I decided to build my house on The Solid Rock.

No. I didn’t build a house. In fact, I laid my life down. I gave my heart to Jesus and began building life on a firm foundation, The Solid Rock, who is Jesus Christ Himself.

The rain and the flood hit hard: cancer and the ensuing surgeries; months of physical therapy; being diagnosed with metastatic cancer again and again; pill-form chemo and its side effects; immunotherapy with a horribly painful reaction; the worst pain I have ever experienced due to metastatic cancer in the pelvic area; radiation; and finally being diagnosed with a secondary bladder cancer.

I felt the winds and the pouring rain, I felt the flood of tears! And yet, in all of this, my decision rang true, my hope secure, my life was built on The Rock and I will never fail because of it. Will I get stressed sometimes? Will I cry out to the Lord in fear? Am I still capable of anxiety? Sure. But that does not negate The Rock I stand on. I may be battered when I finally meet my Jesus, but He will make me new; He will give me a new body that will never be diseased again.

I have hope. In this world? Sure. There are medical advances and treatments that I can try. But when all of these fail, I know that my hope is firmly in Christ. I do not have a death wish, but as I am writing this, I am in tears. I so look forward to seeing Jesus and experiencing healing like I have never known. That is my expectation and confidence. My life is in the hands of Christ. In the years He gives, I pray that I am able to be used to bring many to Him and to see His kids grow in their faith, hope, and love. Praise God, I am alive. Praise God, I will be more alive than ever when I am with Him.

Someday, someone will say, “Steve lost his long battle with cancer.” Oh, they are so wrong. I will not have lost my battle—I will have finally won! I will have done so because of a decision I made 34 years ago as of writing this. My life is built upon The Rock and there is no storm that can destroy it!


All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.