Steve Marquez: God Knows
Steve Marquez: God Knows

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God Knows

Devotional and photo illustration 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 www.stage4ministries.com for more information.

It is hard to live with chronic pain from cancer treatments and surgeries. Sometimes I just “live with it”; other times I feel the weight intimately. I literally ache—and I spiritually ache for relief. Now, I don’t know why, and my theology may be way off here, but I have always felt as if I was a burden to God. I didn’t want to bother Him with my pathetic, paltry, puny prayers. Why would He listen to me?

This translated into not asking God for anything until it was too late. Actually, it translated into fear and a lack of faith. When I started to realize this, I corrected the theology in my mind, but it took years to change it in my heart—to make it practical. The process takes time and trial. In short, it takes the fire. We can “believe” all the right things, but until that belief is tested, its strength is in question. I can say all kinds of things, but until those words have weight, they are, well, just words.

When we go through trial, we revert to what we have learned over the years. If our training is good, we usually get through the trial and simply get to the other side. But if our instruction was not good, we can get overwhelmed and not handle the situation well at all. Stress brings out what we are made of, not of that which we wish. For me, my theology reverted to my misunderstanding of who God was as I was laying in the ICU for 18 days. I never thought God had abandoned me. If God was with me, then, why was He allowing me to suffer so badly? Couldn’t He have easily healed me? I was in horrible pain; couldn’t He just say the word and I would be well?

As I was immobile in bed, I started to believe that I was bothering God with my prayers and that He had more important things to do—like run the universe—than to take notice of me and my situation. I never asked “Why”, as I said in a previous devotional, but I did doubt that God would answer when I prayed. The Children of Israel felt the same way when they were in bitter slavery in Egypt.

… the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. Exodus 2:23b–25, ESV

The last three words are so important to these verses. And God Knew. He understood their situation. He knew their pain, their trials, and their torment. Of course, He was about to do something about it, but sometimes it is good just to know—that God knows. Here are four practical things we can do to battle against the wrong theology that God doesn’t know or take notice, or worse yet, doesn’t care about our difficulties.

1. Be active: Cry out to God in your pain. Even if we put ourselves in our current situation by some bad thing we did, God still cares about His people. In Judges 10 the Israelites had sinned over and over again so that finally God said He would give them over to judgment. But then, when they repented and wept and cried out to God, His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel, and He delivered them (Judges 10:16, NKJV).

2. God Hears: Know that God hears your prayers. He understands the situation and will deliver you in his own, special way that will be for your good and His glory.

3. Pray His promises: God will not abandon His promises, even if we do. Praying God’s promises does not make God “remember” as if He forgot them. It makes us remember them, and then God will bring them to pass. By faith we trust that He will do exactly what He has said. This is why it is so important to read God’s Word. When I was in the hospital, I was too weak to hold a Bible in my hand. My wife would read to me. I remember the first time I held my Bible after surgery. I wept.

4. God sees and God knows: He completely understands the situation. When I was at my worst, all I needed to know is that He was with me and that He understood. I could get through any storm as long as I understood this.

Oh, Father, may we learn to actively cry out to You for our every need, big or small, that we might know that You hear, that Your promises are true, and that You are trustworthy to bring them to pass. Thank You for understanding what we are going through, and thank You for what You are going to do in our lives that we might bring glory to our Father. Thank You for being our Father. Thank You for Your grace, mercy, and peace in and through Christ Jesus, our great God and Savior. In His mighty name we pray, Amen!

 

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.

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