By Victoria Ostrosky
Some years ago, a small book was written entitled Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. It’s an allegory, and a beautiful one. The main character’s name was Much Afraid, and she truly desired to know the Chief Shepherd better. When He called her to go on a journey with Him, she agreed, even though she trembled in fear. Because the Chief Shepherd couldn’t be with her the entire journey, He gave her two companions, named Sorrow and Suffering, whose task was to assist Much Afraid and help her over the hard places. She learned and grew stronger, with Sorrow and Suffering her constant helpers. One day, as she stumbled over the bare rocks, she saw a yellow flower growing out of them, with its solitary face lifted to the sun. Much Afraid asked the delicate flower its name. “I am Acceptance with Joy,” it replied.
Harrison Ashler was born and raised in Pensacola, regularly attending church and singing in the choir. Like many young men, he met and married a wonderful woman, had a baby and bought a house. Life was good.
In September of 2015, God reached down and touched Harrison. He experienced a brain hemorrhage/stroke that turned his and his family’s lives upside down. He had a seizure, was intubated in the hospital and taken to Sacred Heart in Pensacola where the doctors discovered a brain bleed.
He woke up with a tube down his throat and a broken arm. “I pulled the tube out of my throat and alarms went off.” The attending nurse called Harrison’s wife and told her that her husband was awake and wanted to see her. Harrison is considered a walking miracle to have had a brain bleed and stroke with no side effects at all. “I was in the furnace and came out without the smell of smoke.”
Life went on, and then God touched him again. A few years later, Harrison was singing in choir and had a major seizure, where he discovered that his drinking had to stop.
“God has delivered me and broken the chains of alcohol through all of these trials, and I would go through it a hundred times over to be free from that bondage.” Harrison was around drinking a lot in college – he thought that’s what adults did, but for him it had gotten out of hand. His neurologist told him it was like throwing kerosene on a wildfire. Even then, Harrison still hadn’t learned the lesson. He figured he could have just one drink. Three ambulance rides later, God finally got him to stop drinking completely and he is now sober.
“My epilepsy, stroke and brain bleed has given me way more than it has taken away. You can’t be what you don’t see. My boys will see me not drinking. God has broken the generational curses.”
We often wonder why bad things happen and why God allows suffering. He brings difficulty and tragedy into our lives to open our eyes to see Him and know Him. God may heal us to bring Himself glory or not heal us to also bring Himself glory. In either instance He uses our pain and suffering to teach us more about His love and mercy. When we are brought low and Jesus shows up to heal and comfort us, that intensely personal experience of knowing we are deeply loved and cherished is transformational.
“You can either live a full life or merely exist. I am living a fuller life because of the tragedy that happened to me.”
You can hear Harrison’s entire story and listen to many other incredible interviews on the weekly Road to Redemption radio show and podcast at www.rtrdestiny.com.