From Fear to Faith
by Carrie Strickland
Last week our family was on our way home from visiting a friend, and when we pulled onto 5th avenue we were instantly greeted by sirens, an array of police cars, policemen, and neighbors pacing anxiously about outside their homes. As we pulled into our driveway we rolled down the car window to ask some of our neighbors what was happening. They told us that just minutes before, in the middle of the street there had been a shooting; 9 shots were fired back and forth and the assailants had escaped before the police made it to the scene. Our boys were listening in the backseat and immediately they began to panic and begged us to stay in our car and to immediately leave our house and the neighborhood. We did as they requested and over the next hour, we drove aimlessly around Columbus while we listened, talked, and prayed with the boys until they were settled and felt comfortable to return to our home. I know the Lord supernaturally gave Rob and me the words to say, because in the car that night, I watched as our boys transitioned emotionally, mentally, and spiritually from fear to faith.
Over the next day or two as I was processing through my own fears and disappointments over what had occurred, I found myself complaining to the Lord and saying to Him, “Our family has been living and serving in this neighborhood for 11 years and I wonder if there has been any change at all! Will there ever be change? Are we just wasting our time here?” As I was carrying on this one-sided dialogue with the Lord for a couple of days, He finally and quietly interrupted me with a question of His own. He said, “Carrie, whose story is this; Mine or yours?”. And with that one question, I immediately understood what point He was trying to make. You see, the story God has written regarding North Highland was written before I ever breathed my first breath here on earth. This story is bigger than me, and my family, and Truth Spring. This is a story of God’s power to come in and change an entire community from the inside-out for His glory. It’s not about my timeline or my expectations; I have simply been given the opportunity to play a small part in bringing this eternal story to life. As I continued to think about this I realized that when we moved into the neighborhood 11 years ago that God did give our family something similar to what I would call the summary of the story. He gave us Ezekiel 36:33-36 which states:
“This is what the Lord God says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, you will be inhabited, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of everyone who passes by. Then they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden. The places that were once ruined, desolate, and destroyed are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then those that remain around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken and I will do it.”
Currently I don’t exactly know where we are in the story, somewhere in the middle I suppose, but because of the promises found in Ezekiel 36, I can be confident of the hope that is to come. There will come a day when North Highland will be rebuilt, fortified, and inhabited. And when that day comes and I look back at the story God has written, I know I will be forever grateful to have been given the chance to be part of the story.
Let me end by saying, you too are part of the redemptive story God has written concerning North Highland. As a result of your generosity and willingness to walk alongside us, God has now woven you into this beautiful story. And through your love, encouragement, and support you have been part of helping our family move from fear to faith as we follow His leading for Truth Spring. My prayer for 2017 is that you and I will continue to follow His leading in every area of our lives and that in the process we will watch as He takes us all from fear to faith.