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Fisher of Men

Befriending Jesus Amidst Our Wilderness Seasons

Befriending Jesus Amidst Our Wilderness Seasons

“You have been teaching me that it’s possible to feel secure even in the midst of the most difficult, painful circumstances— through staying aware of Your continual Presence with me.”
– Jesus Listens, July 19th

The Wilderness

“Go to Jesus,” they say. 

“Clap your hands and shout,” they say. 

Somehow, when we are in pain, the quintessential church phrases do not move us like they typically do. The exuberant testimonies of how others were able to pray themselves into wholeness and victory can feel like a taunt more than an encouragement for those who do not even have the strength to open the bible. Sometimes, we may not want Him, but instead, we may just want to want Him. On top of that, we may hope to hope one day—just not today. 

How can we experience the Presence of God when we are numbed by jadedness and heavy laden with sorrow? Sometimes the let downs of life can spur us on to more fervent prayer and belief. However, if you are let down for long enough, we can begin to wonder. 

Where is God? 

Why does He not help me? 

 Why does He not care? 

These are some of the questions we may wrestle with in the wilderness seasons of our lives. The wilderness is when what we know of God is not what we feel of Him. You may know that He is a Healer, but you may not be experiencing healing. You may know Him as Comforter, but you may feel abandoned instead. 

Awakening Our Awareness

Jacob couldn’t feel God, too. When he had to run from his home to escape the wrath of his brother Esau (Genesis 27 NIV), he found himself alone on his journey while leaving everything he knew. This was Jacob’s wilderness season. Yet, when he slept with only a stone under his head, he dreamed of God’s Presence in the very place that he rested. In his dream, “The Lord was standing there beside him,” (Genesis 28:13 NIV). This awakened Jacob’s awareness of God’s Presence. When he awoke, he exclaimed, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it,” (Genesis 28:16). He did not realize that God was with him the whole time. 

Friend of God, if you count yourself as a child of God and forgiven by the blood of the Lamb, then the Presence of God is with you always. This is the gospel truth. His proximity to us is not contingent on our behavior or our feelings. You can be numb with disappointment, exhausted by grief, and anxious in fear of rejection, and yet—He is with you still. You could have committed your umpteenth mistake and failed to pray for months, and yet—He is with you still. He can hear you breathing. He sees you fidgeting in your seat. He heard your thoughts just now. This is because our dear friend Jesus’ commitment to us is not dependent on us. Rather, it is dependent on what He Himself has done for us, which is good news for those who are in the wilderness. 

Romans 8:38-39 NIV says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is no distance between you and the Presence of God. Your pain and hopelessness has no power to push Him away. The reason why the wilderness may be realer to you than His divine nearness is a matter of awareness. Awareness determines what we experience. Practicing an awareness of the God who is with you is commonly referred to as “practicing the Presence of God.”

Practicing God’s Presence

Practicing the Presence of God is an exercise of faith. Instead of believing in what you cannot see, hear, and feel, you are exercising a spiritual muscle that chooses to trust that He is right there with you amidst your trouble. We see this principle in Philippians 4:6-7 NIV, which says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” No matter what you are facing, Apostle Paul encourages all believers to refuse to immerse ourselves in the awareness of our problems. But in every situation, we are to approach Him with our needs by giving thanks. What a challenging exhortation! While we are steeped in our concerns, Apostle Paul calls us to interrupt our mind’s obsession with our problems. With that, we are to gaze at the fingerprints of God all over our lives by giving thanks. Gratitude is a choice to be aware of God’s goodness, no matter the circumstance. 

When you practice this awareness, you will experience the peace of His Presence. You will be more aware of His forgiveness than your shameful past.  You will be more aware of His love than other people’s opinions. You will know strength amidst your weakness. You will know Jesus—intimately, authentically, and passionately—even in the wilderness.

About The Author

Faith Eury Cho is the author of Experiencing Friendship with God and the CEO and founder of The Honor Summit, a nonprofit organization that centers Asian American women in the mission of God. She has been a gospel preacher since she was nineteen years old and now regularly speaks at events such as Q Ideas. She has a Master’s of Divinity, is a frequent guest on TBN’s “Better Together” and a contributor to Christine Caine’s Propel Women. Alongside her husband, Pastor David Cho, Faith is co-founder and co-pastor of Mosaic Covenant Church in New Jersey. She and David have four children. For more information, follow @faitheurycho and visit

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