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5 Lessons Learned in the COVID Wilderness

Have you ever felt like you’re on the backside of the desert or in some twisted form of an apocalyptic wasteland? Do you feel a bit isolated and irritated in your struggle with the COVID dilemma?


Of course, you’re pretty sure God hasn’t abandoned you or moved out of your reach.


But . . .


You feel empty and dry.


Confused and depressed.


Shaken and angry.


And you wonder if life will ever get better, let alone back to some semblance of normal.


Yeah, me too.



Like I recently wrote, I’ve never been through a season like this one. Our church building was closed for three months, we are in a global pandemic, a worldwide recession, and civil unrest continues.


Many people are frustrated with the present and profoundly worried about the future. All of this has left a lot of us—including me—scratching our head and wondering, “Is the end near?”


It’s probably not the end of the world, but it’s definitely the end of the world as we know it (and I don’t feel fine).


That being said, I’m going to give you some practical things I encourage you to do now more than ever. We can do very little—if anything—to change the crazy circumstances surrounding us, but we can alter our perspective and attitude.


1. Remember God’s goodness and faithfulness in times past. 


When miracles are happening, everybody’s happy, but staying on track in the valley of the shadow of death ain’t easy. I know. But the key to your survival is to remember.


Remember those other times when you were hurting and afraid, but God held you close.


Remember those moments when you thought all was lost, but God rescued you.


Remember the days (or years) you wandered, but now you look back and see that you were never alone.


Remember God’s presence and His power in your life, and then reflect on the reality that God has not changed even though our world has changed a lot.


2. Recognize we all live in a broken world all of the time. 


Yes, the current situation is challenging, but since the fall, there’s never been a time that our world was perfect. Problems, plagues, pestilence, poverty, and plights have always been with us (and utopia isn’t just around the corner).


You can blame God, but we humans are responsible for our rebellion and the current state of affairs.


So that’s the problem; what’s the solution? Repentance leading to restoration, renewal, and revival is desperately needed.


Maybe it’s time we own our sin and deal with the log in our eye.


Perhaps the way out of the wilderness is to stop resisting what God is trying to teach us.


The best life-lessons are generally learned in a time and place we’d never choose.



3. Release your unmet expectations to God’s care.


God knows you and your situation better than you do. Yep, when things don’t go as expected, it sucks. Unmet expectations always lead to emotional upheaval.


But trusting God means entrusting your entire life to Him regardless of your circumstances.


God never promised to explain everything about everything to us. He did, however, tell us He would never leave or forsake us.


Releasing what you want, and your demand for answers is the path to peace. Keep in mind, on this side of eternity, we only know in part.


4. Remove a complaining heart and mouth from your life.


It’s easy to grumble, but does murmuring change anything? We like to call it venting, but it’s a lot more like emotionally vomiting.


Complaining is like cement in our soul; it tends to harden our negativity, not fix it.


Just three days after Moses led God’s people through the Red Sea, the Word says, “The people grumbled to Moses, ‘What are we going to drink?’” (Exodus 15:24).


Israel was quick to forget what God had done for them through Moses. When things got tough, the Israelites complained. Their default during their time in the wilderness was: “When in doubt, grumble.”


As Rick Warren says, “One minute Moses was a hero, the next he was a zero.” But Pastor Rick also points out, “God is the master of reversing hurt. Disappointments are really His-appointments.


I wonder what would happen in our church and our cities if we talked as much about Jesus as we do Covid-19?



5. Remain committed to your call and God’s purposes in your life.


Solomon wrote that when you lose a clear vision for your future, you wander astray, cast off what’s good for you, and live out of control. That’s why it’s so important to see and embrace God’s vision for your life.


You can quit, but it’s best to stay the course.


You can give up, but maybe God is about to do His greatest work in and through you.


You can lose focus—or worse—remained fixated on what you think is a falling sky, but the God of the universe isn’t baffled or confused by all that is happening.


He has a plan.


He has a purpose.


He has you.


Be more like Jesus who endured a fate far worse than COVID—the cross—because He knew what we too often forget: Joy and a crown are coming to those who persevere.



Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,

for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life,

which God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 (ESV)

Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Vickie Hurt

    Hi Kurt!! Thank you for those words of wisdom!!!! I am looking forward to your latest book!!! I am sorry I could not afford the original price, although I know that your book is worth it!! Thank you for this great deal!!! See you Sunday!!!!!????

    1. KurtBubna

      Hi Vickie, no worries. It is on sale still for nearly half off (less than $8 now). Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  2. Lynn Tobert

    Thanks Kurt for these words of wisdom. Something we all need to think about and do in this very interesting time we are living in.

    1. KurtBubna

      You are most welcome, Lynn. You are loved!

  3. Esther Blocker

    Thanks for your words of wisdom, I am always the glass half full kind of person and praying no matter what I can stay strong with God’s help. Just wanted to let you know how much I love and appreciate you and Laura. Im so thankful you haven’t called it quits. You are caring and genuinely compassionate and it shows ❣❣❣❣

    1. KurtBubna

      Thank you, Ester. All is well.

  4. Vickie Brown

    Thank you Kurt… Remember we love you.


    1. KurtBubna

      Hi Vickie, LOVE you too!

  5. Phyllis Farr

    Great news and very timely! Thank you!

    1. KurtBubna

      Thanks, “Mom!” Hope all is well with you! You are loved.

  6. kelly

    It really does seem hard to find the good, the blessing in the mess when that is all we are bombarded by…is it also a symptom of not liking change?? I really do have a hard time with change, when its not in my control 🙂 I try and work thru it as best as I can and try and stay positive, but MAN is THAT hard…to continue to pray the good things, ask for forgiveness always. In a world that constantly changes how to continually stay positive and trust God has this without prayer? I try and train/MAKE A HABIT for myself to pray for just about everything….so I hope I am giving up the control of the issue to my Lord to do with what he will….but as always its a work in progress. thank you Mr. Bubna for your blog.

    1. KurtBubna

      I feel your pain…and I’m a work in progress too, Kelly!

  7. Cary


    The great philosopher, Jack Walsh (ok he was the CEO of GE, not a philosopher) once said something that has stuck with me as a business owner. He said “when the job becomes stale or frustrating, it’s important to go back to the roots of what the business was founded on to renew that spark that originated the reason you are where you are.” And he rebuilt GE into a global force from pending bankruptcy.

    I think that‘s true for believers (and especially people in full time ministry). Life often takes us to unexpected locations. Worry, tragedy, meetings, life events, all pull us away from the simplicity of our first “love”.

    But if we can remember, all this leads to a promise from God that he “gives wisdom liberally if we ask“ it can and should give us peace and hope.

    Remember when the people at the celebration panicked when they ran out of wine, and Jesus turn ordinary water into fine wine? The good news is this time we are in, is the water. The wine is coming!

    1. KurtBubna

      Great insight and very encouraging! Thank you, Cary!

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