Steve Marquez—Full Steam Ahead

Steve Marquez—Full Steam Ahead

Full Steam Ahead

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 through Jesus Christ they can have hope in this world, and the next. Visit for more information.

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. Ecclesiastes 8:6–8a, ESV

I must admit that without knowing it, I have lived in somewhat of a core fear that has hampered my ability to accomplish God’s will in my life. The thought, I probably won’t be around next year, so I might as well not make any plans, has come to my mind. Mulling this, a new thought came to mind that I perceived was from the Lord. He said, Only I will determine the day of your death. Stop fearing and start doing!

I like old steam engines. They work faithfully for years. While researching trains, I found the poem, The Faithful Engineer by William Shakespeare Hays in his book, Songs and Poems (1886). I’d like to share that poem and some thoughts with you today.

Life is like a crooked railroad,
And the engineer is brave.
Who can make a trip successful
From the cradle to the grave.

There are stations all along it,
Where at almost any breath
You’ll be “flagged” to stop your engine
By the messenger of death.

You may run the grades of trouble.
Many days and years of ease,
But time may have you side-tracked
By the switchman of disease.

I was flagged with an idling engine, being visited by the switchman of disease: Will I make it to the next stop? If not, then why prepare for it? But I did make it to the next stop, and the next. Each time not planning for what would come next.

You may cross the bridge of manhood,
Run the tunnel dark of strife.
Having God for your conductor
On the lightning train of life.

Always mindful of instructions,
Watchful duty never lack;
Keep your hand upon the throttle
And your eye upon the track.

Name your engine “True Religion”
When you’re running day or night.
Use the coal of Faith for fuel.
And she’ll always run you right.

This part had a profound effect on me. Should I give up? My wheels were turning, and I was moving down the track. How can I give up? I have a message that must be shared, and as long as God gives me the steam, then I will continue down the track.

You need never fear of sticking
On the up-grades ‘long the road;
If you’ve got Hope for a fireman
You can always pull the load.

You will often find obstructions
By the cunning devil lain,
On a hill, or curve, or trestle,
Where he’ll try to “ditch your train.”

But you needn’t fear disaster;
“Jerk her open, Let her go!”
For the General Superintendent
All his plans will overthrow.

Put your trust in God, and fear not
Keep a-going, don’t look back;
Keep your hand upon the throttle
And your eye upon the track.

This helped me to see that life is full of obstacles that have intentionally been put in the way by the enemy. He wants me side-tracked. I have felt as if life was going uphill; even the slightest breath was difficult. It felt as if the journey was over several times. But those where the times when God turned things around, and I was once again ready to open up the throttle and get back on the track.

When you’ve made the trip successful,
And you’re at your journey’s end,
You will find the angels waiting
To receive you as a friend.

You’ll approach the Superintendent,
Who is waiting for you now,
With a word of proud promotion
And a crown to deck your brow.

Never falter in your duty;
Put your faith and trust in Him,
And you’ll always find your engine
In the best of running trim.

Ring your bell and blow your whistle;
Never let your courage slack;
Keep your hand upon the throttle
And your eye upon the track.

The journey will be successful when we make it to the end of the line. No disease or sidetrack by the enemy will stop us. This is the part of the journey that we all long for because we get to see the “Superintendent”—God Himself—who is waiting on the platform. We will fulfill God’s will for our lives without fear. We just have to keep our hands on the throttle, roll down the track, and make it to the final destination without fail.

As a cancer patient, the enemy has done whatever he could to sidetrack and even flag me, but I am going to keep on rolling full-steam until that day when I arrive and see Jesus face-to-face.


© 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.