In 1989 I traveled to eastern Canada, conducting evangelistic meetings and testifying of the goodness of God in various churches that were in need of encouragement. Now when you return home from any season of traveling, you usually expect to find some personal rest and comfort. The last thing you expect to find is your house burned to the ground.
The fire department said it was one of the most incredible fires they had ever seen. Other than the chimney, there was absolutely nothing left. Everything had collapsed into the foundation, and not a single wall was left standing. It was a complete and total destruction of my home.
It was in this house that my family and I had learned to have faith to trust God for the impossible. We not only fed people beyond our natural means, but we were fed supernaturally as well. Now, suddenly, everything was gone. All the comforts, all the pictures of our children, all the work I had done to renovate the old log farmhouse, everything that we had accumulated up until that point — all gone.
At that moment, it would have been easy for me to stand in my yard and cry out, “God, is this how you reward me for taking in the homeless? Is this what I get for praising you, for living for you, for traveling to testify about you? You decide to take away everything that we have?” The enemy’s prime time for planting doubts in our mind regarding God’s goodness is right in the midst of our most intense trials. That is when we must make a choice.
As I stood before the embers of my house, I chose to trust God. I chose to believe that everything he allows is for a reason. In hindsight, I now realize that God knew I would be moving to New York. He also knew that certain things had to happen; certain things needed to be taken away from me. A deep trust had to be birthed within my heart, a personal revelation of God’s keeping power, and there was no other way to develop that kind of trust except through the fire. God knew that I would later be called to stand in far more difficult circumstances, so now was the time for greater faith to be worked into my heart. Those embers and ashes turned into a time of strengthening and great blessing.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. In May of 2020 he transitioned into a continuing role as General Overseer of Times Square Church, Inc.