Summary: The corona virus pandemic has shut the doors to our churches. We have restrictions on what we can do and where we can go. As Christians, how should we be handling this situation?
How Should We Deal With This Pandemic?
2My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
We all face difficult times…
and becoming a Christian…
will not stop bad things from happening to yus.
However, faith in Jesus Christ will help us get through bad times.
We are currently under a pandemic.
Social Distancing means we are restricted
on what we can do and where we can go.
People who have investments have lost thousands of dollars.
Many have lost income due to job restrictions and closings.
There are no confirmed cases of the corona virus in this area,
but over half a million in the United States have caught the virus
and nearly 21,000 have died from it.
No one knows when this pandemic will end.
We all are anxious to go back to our normal activities,
but until that happens….what should we do?
Today, I want to tell you the true story of Edmund McIlhenny
Edmund was a prosperous farmer in Louisiana
He operated a sugar plantation…
and a salt works on Avery Island, Louisiana.
Life was great for Edmund and his family,
but then the Civil War broke out.
Yankee troops invaded the area in 1863,
and McIlhenny had to run for his life.
He had to leave behind his plantation and salt business.
We’ll get back to his story a little later!
So how are you dealing with the current pandemic?
What do you do when bad times come?
Someone has suggested,
"When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!"
That's a great thought,
but how can we do that?
How do we turn lemons into lemonade?
The book of James contains 4 requirements
for turning lemons into lemonade.
Requirement #1. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.
Verse 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
The Greek word translated "count" means: to appreciate, or to consider.
It suggests careful study with a desire to understand…
and come to some conclusion.
It focuses on the course and the outcome of the bad time.
The word “trials” or “temptations” …
could better be translated as…“testings.”
Sometimes God allows “testings” for a purpose.
1 Peter 1:6-7 says: In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
You see, we really don’t know how strong our faith is…
until it is put to the test!
You don’t know how strong your Christian character is…
until it is put to the test!
Let’s get back to the story of Edmund McIlhenny.
Well, the Civil War finally came to an end.
When Edmund McIlhenny returned home in 1865,
he found that his sugar fields and salt works were ruined.
The Yankee soldiers had burned off the fields.
Buildings and equipment were destroyed.
Life was going to be very hard for the McIlhennys.
How would Edmund handle this situation?
Would he give up like many Southerners did?
More of that story a little later.
We are not enjoying the current pandemic,
but every trial must be considered…
in view of its potential benefit.
That leads us to the second requirement.
KNOW THAT BAD TIMES WILL COME.
Verse 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Patience is the ability to persevere, to hold up and continue
when others are ready to given up.
We should look for benefits from bad times.
Romans 5: 3-4 says: we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Positive results can come out of bad times.
2 Peter 1: 5-8 says: But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.