Steve Marquez: Developed in the Dreadful

Steve Marquez: Developed in the Dreadful
Steve Marquez: Developed in the Dreadful

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Calvary Chapel Pastor Steve Marquez: Developed in the Dreadful

Devotional by Pastor 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.

What does it take for us to be developed into a mature believer in Christ? Every follower of Christ is loved by him equally. We are all the children of God. But there are those followers who enjoy a deeper intimacy than others. You might think that they are the ones who adhere to the Word of God more than others, those who are holier than others, or those who have more faith than others, but that is not necessarily the case.

Who is closer to Jesus than a righteous follower? I would wager it would be those who feel the furthest away, the outliers, those who suffer pain and difficulty, trial, and sorrow.

I have been told that when a lamb continues to go astray, a shepherd will break its legs and then carry it around his neck until the lamb is completely healed. It is done so that the lamb, as it grows, will never wander again and, therefore, will remain safely by the shepherd’s side. I am not sure how accurate the story is, but I do know this: The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18, ESV).

We are developed in the dreadful.

“Dreadful sounds are in his ears; in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him. He does not believe that he will return out of darkness, and he is marked for the sword” (Eliphaz, quoted in Job 15:21–22, ESV).

When Eliphaz said this, he meant it as an accusation against Job’s question about God not being fair. What does this have to do with intimacy through trial? Arguably, Job went through more dreadfulness than anyone. Many acquainted with pain and agony feel his emotions. The dreadful has come and darkness is all around. We don’t know how we are going to survive. But the pain and difficulty become a servant sent to point us toward that warm companionship that is found in the closest friendship one could ever possess. Yes, we don’t like the pain; but when we know that it puts us around the neck of the Savior, we lay, although broken, in peace.

We are like grapes that have been crushed, bleeding and bruised, wondering what good could ever come of it. Then, the Master comes and samples the wine and we then realize that it was worth it. We must go through the crushing in order to feel the closeness.

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; We are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.—C.S. Lewis

We don’t understand, nor do we feel, God’s nearness until we experience something so intense that we must run to Him with every ounce of strength within us. We throw ourselves down at His feet and beg Him to carry us, because in our wandering, we were broken; in our aimlessness, our hope was fractured.

I have never felt as intimate with Jesus than when I was in the depth of my pain, because I never realized the need I had when in health. When our pain is evident, the intimacy with our Father is not far behind. Over the years I have learned to embrace the pain and suffering—not because I like the suffering but what it produces inside of me.


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

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