Suffering and Comfort

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,”
A friend gave me these verses recently – verses from 2 Corinthians. I keep coming back to them because these words have been exactly what I’ve needed to both express and understand these past weeks.

First, let me tell you of the wonders The “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” has worked: In less than two weeks, He has enabled me, with the help of translators, to teach this disability-adapted sign language to over 25 teachers and nurses, whom I oversaw, in turn, teach house by house, room by room, the nannies (who worked with the children constantly) so they could teach the children. Our Father blessed in such abundance. The women learned more than a semester’s worth of sign language in less than two weeks, and within a few days, each time I went to the children’s home, I was surrounded by children who all wanted to show me the signs they have learned. Praise Him for bringing this great thing about!

Now He has led me a day’s journey north to a school of worship where I am helping teach keyboard to women who will be on worship teams in blooming church plants all over the state of AP, about to teach the same women sign language to the Telugu worship songs they are learning (pray for my wisdom in translating the Telugu to sign), and translating and teaching those same Telugu songs in our disability-adjusted sign language to those who can return and teach it to the dear children back at Sarah’s Covenant Home. So that even though they cannot use their voices, they can use their hands to join with their brothers and sisters in worshiping our God.

I am humbled by and in awe of Him.

And I’m pressed to run to Him constantly, because, of course, in the light of all of these victories, there have been a lot of battles.

That’s where the rest of those 2 Corinthians verses come in – the verses about the comfort of God in the light of our sufferings, and the purpose of our sufferings… One of the main purposes being (spoiler alert;) you, dear friends who are reading.

These verses have been a deep comfort to me.

I’ve been sick – vey sick and weak. I’ve had trial by fire-ants 😉 absolutely filling my bed and possessions and trying on my nerves constantly. As I was attempting to get them out of my bed one night, I busted my toe open. I’ve had heat boils and an infected finger. I’ve missed people back home desperately. I’ve had miscommunications with people. I’ve been misinterpreted by people. I’ve made mistakes: I’ve squirted mango all over myself and a restaurant floor to the great amusement of every Indian present haha;) I’ve walked around in complete confusion in this foreign culture and language. I’ve felt like a child. I’ve felt inadequate. I have been incapable and inadequate.

And in all of this, I have been comforted, sustained, supplied, and overwhelmed by the presence and power of God.

And the reason I tell you this – the reason I am so completely honest with you about this is explained in these verses:

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Those verses explain it better than I ever could, but in brief they express that He has been my comfort so I can assure you that He will be your comfort, to assure you of all He is and all He has done and is doing and will do. And they express to the church at Corinth what I long to express to you: I want to remind you and thank you for and show you what your prayers have been doing.

Your prayers have been making disciples and moving mountains, delivering me…. and bringing me comfort.

So much love,
Ashlie Ariel

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One thought on “Suffering and Comfort

  1. What an amazing God we serve that He continues to sustain you and give you the joy I still see in your eyes. Your ministry there far exceeds the boundaries of country. May He continue to work in and through you! And continue to give you eyes to see all He is doing in you and the body, for His Glory! I love you, Mom

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