STANDING IN THE PROMISE

How the Ashers have relied on faith and what we can learn from them

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Lauren Lejeune

More stories from Lauren Lejeune

ARE WE GETTING SMALLER?
September 12, 2019
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STANDING IN THE PROMISE

The Asher family front (from left): Payton Asher, Ethan Asher, Tiffani Asher; back (from left) Brooks Asher, Andy Asher.

The Asher family front (from left): Payton Asher, Ethan Asher, Tiffani Asher; back (from left) Brooks Asher, Andy Asher.

Summer Johnson

The Asher family front (from left): Payton Asher, Ethan Asher, Tiffani Asher; back (from left) Brooks Asher, Andy Asher.

Summer Johnson

Summer Johnson

The Asher family front (from left): Payton Asher, Ethan Asher, Tiffani Asher; back (from left) Brooks Asher, Andy Asher.

ADVISER’S NOTE: Prowl co-opinion editor Lauren Lejeune interviewed Tiffani Asher via text over a period of days, during which Lauren learned much about the faith that is sustaining the Asher family through Ethan’s healing process. We are running this story in the opinion section since it involves personal convictions on the parts of both the writer and the source.

About a month ago, I started my last year of high school full of anticipation for the upcoming school year, something I hadn’t had for a long time. This was the last year I’d be a student at Powell High School, and the feeling of comradeship hung over the seniors in the auditorium like a thick blanket.

I talked to kids I went to school with for years and hadn’t said much to at all. I visited with old friends as if there wasn’t a moment of time between the two of us. We visited, shouted and laughed; celebrating the final year that was waiting for us.

I visited with Ethan Asher that morning. Introduced him to a new student in our grade, and talked about football, swimming and our summers. It was always a good conversation with Ethan’s humorous remarks. I went along the rest of my day.

The next day, I came to school greeted with tear streaked faces and a student body with a wound too large to comprehend right away. Ethan Asher had been in an accident, and nobody knew what was going to happen.

The great thing about living in a small town with a big heart is it didn’t take long for prayers to be said and posted. A prayer vigil was to take place that Wednesday for Ethan. I went. In a time of confusion and questioning I went to pray for my classmate.

I saw people from church. I saw people from school and people I’d never seen before, but we all shared one thing in common – a love for Ethan and the Asher family. And I could feel God’s presence, like a deep pulse that bounced off the small groups of people holding hands and praying. Comforting in a time when that’s all we wanted.

We have received the promise that Ethan will be made whole, and we stand in that promise.”

— Tiffani Asher

I’ve grown up being told that everything happens for a reason. But in a situation where one of our own is almost taken from us, it’s hard to comprehend why God is “allowing” it to happen.

But Tiffani Asher, Ethan’s mom, is sharing exactly how she has given this situation to God with hundreds of people.

“In the beginning of this journey, our struggle was letting God take complete and total control,” Tiffani said. “Now we are not struggling with that. We have received the promise that Ethan will be made whole, and we stand in that promise.”

Over the past few weeks, #EthanStrong has taken off on Facebook, a public group that has accumulated over 3,500 followers. People from all over are rallying in support for Ethan and his family. Athletes across the state and beyond are donning a #3 or #EthanStrong on their arms. Shirts, bracelets and posters are marketed off to raise money. Sports teams and their towns have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the family. Prayers are a never-ending flow, and many would say a powerful God is working on Ethan.

Now it’s just a waiting game. In the weeks that have passed, Ethan has endured surgeries and is making bounding improvements – improvements most would say are near impossible.

“Tyler Davison coined a phrase at church,” Tiffani said. “‘God winks.’ We have been taking notes and smiling through the winks God has given us throughout this journey.

“These are moments most people take as coincidence, but as believers, God literally is showing us He is there. The toes twitching for our nurse was God’s way of showing her He is not done yet. The God wink for us is every person he has shown His glory to.”

And after much waiting, Ethan woke up. In a Facebook post created Sat. Sept. 21, Ethan’s parents said he had talked to his nurse. When they came into the room, Ethan recognized his mom and even said “Mom.”

“Ethan was not supposed to leave the scene alive, but God has another plan,” Tiffani said. “Ethan was not supposed to walk again, but God has another plan. Ethan’s brain trauma was so severe he may not talk again, but God has another plan.”

Even when things are looking difficult, the Ashers hold on to their faith in God. And they have a message for those who might be struggling with their faith.

“Faith is tested and tried. Sometimes it’s easy to say you’re a believer when it is convenient. A preacher in Billings told us on Sunday, that it’s easy to invite Jesus to dinner, it’s something else to invite Him to move in,” Tiffani said. “Faith is about surrender, and no one else can help you with that. We have to take steps and allow God to follow through.

“Faith is letting your actions speak louder than what you can read on a coffee cup. When God gets ahold of you, the world notices. It changes you, your outlook, your actions and your faith. Advice: be curious, ask questions and seek truth. God will show up for you.”

And so, as Ethan continues to recover in Billings we’ll keep the Ashers in our thoughts and patiently wait for our fellow Panther to come home.

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