There’s a guy by the name of Harley whom a Bible teacher had met in a Sunday School class. He realized that what the teacher was sharing was not real for him. He wasn’t experiencing Christ as his life. The reason he realized it was he was an unhappy camper when Lee met him. Harley’s married to a lady we’ll call “sweetie pie.” At the time the teacher met him he was still devastated that his wife had MS. He couldn’t understand why this would happen to someone such as he and his wife. They’d done their best to live the Christian life, they were in church every week, and had given liberally of their resources. Why would God allow her to get MS? You see, MS put a tremendous crimp in their lifestyle because Harley was self-employed and he’d work all day and come home to do his own book work. He’d also have to do a lot around the house and he was pushing her in the wheelchair everywhere they went. Get the chair out, put her in it, get her out at church to sit on a pew, roll chair out, go back and get it etc.
So you can see Harley was bitter, angry, and frustrated with God and with life. He heard the teacher say that many times God will reveal our functional source of life through stress. He began to realize that he, even with God’s help couldn’t live the Christian life. So Harley got on his knees and gave up all rights to “sweetie pie’s” health, as well as his own happiness. He gave up all rights to everything he was hanging on to in order to get his needs met. He announced that he was a failure as a Christian and at living the Christian life with or without God’s help. He gave up on his Self, his own self-sufficiency. He accepted his death with Christ by faith and he invited the Lord Jesus to live His life in him and through him and for him. Today when you meet Harley he never complains about “sweetie pie’s” condition. They recently reaffirmed their wedding vows after twenty-five years, and they’re in love as much as any body.
Now am I saying that God allowed her to get MS to change Harley? No, I’m not saying that. I don’t know that, but I do know this – God allows adversity to come into the Christian’s life and we must not waste our sorrows. The truth is stress plus time will reveal your functional source of life.