Enjoy the Ride

By: Thomas E. Brewton

We can trust God completely to see us through adversity.

Sunday’s sermon at the Long Ridge Congregational Church (non-UCC) in North Stamford, Connecticut, was delivered by Reverend David Newberry. His texts, from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, were examples of humans’ weakness and doubt that God would, or could, sustain them in times of peril.

Exodus 3 in the Old Testament is one of the most famous passages in the Bible. A young Moses is shepherding his father-in-law’s sheep on the desert edge, when he sees a bush that is burning, but is not consumed by the flames, symbolizing that God is existence itself, the source of all energy and matter, neither becoming nor ending. From the burning bush God tells Moses:

Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. (Exodus 3:16)

Then God makes a promise:

And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:17)

As most of us are too prone to do, Moses began questioning God and making excuses for not trusting Him and following His commands:

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’? (Exodus 4:1)


Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD. Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 4:10-13)

Reluctantly and in trepidation, Moses does as God commands:

Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: “Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.” (Exodus 5:1)

Infuriated by Moses’s demands:

That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies. (Exodus 5:6-9)

Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” (Exodus 5:22-23)

Still reluctantly, Moses follows God’s commands repeatedly to return to Pharaoh with the message that, if he doesn’t let the Israelites go, God will visit upon the Egyptians an escalating array of miseries. Ultimately Pharaoh has to admit that God has defeated Egypt’s gods and he lets the Israelites depart.

Even after their deliverance from Egyptian enslavement, the Israelites again raise doubts about God’s promise, which costs them forty years of wandering in the wilderness before they can enter the Promised Land.

Most of us trust God, until unexpected difficulties arise. We must remember that, though we may falter, God does not. God’s promises will be fulfilled, but not necessarily immediately or in the way humans might imagine.

Another example of doubt from the New Testament:

That day when evening came, [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-40)

Rev. Newberry noted that experience tells us that God often interposes tribulations to promote growth of our faith. Today, religious Jews and Christians are attacked at home by liberal-Progressives and from abroad by Islamic jihad. It is through steadfast faith that we can witness to non-believers, just as the Christian martyrs did in the early centuries after Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection.

In the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth:

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:5-10)

As Rev. Newberry concluded, in our materialistic and hedonistic world, many people are prepared to trust their lives to a giant rubber band to experience the thrill of bungee jumping. We are far safer following God’s will and trusting Him with all of our hearts.

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

About The Author Thomas E. Brewton:
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

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