Recently I was reminded of the four powerful words that appear on all U. S. currency, IN GOD WE TRUST. The use of this phrase first appeared on the Two-cent piece in 1864 in response to increased religious sentiment in connection with the atrocities that took place during the Civil War. “IN GOD WE TRUST” eventually found its way onto all U. S. currency nearly a century later, serving as a symbolic response to the threat of communism that faced our nation at the time. It became the official motto of the United States in 1956, replacing the unofficial motto at the time, E pluribus unum, which in Latin means, “Out of many one.” In recent years there has been much debate in the courts as well as in the court of public opinion over whether it is a violation of church and state to include IN GOD WE TRUST on our currency. However, this phrase has remained there as a silent message of where we as a nation have been and hopefully where we by God’s grace hope to be in the future.
But now that we have reached the beginning of a brand new year, I can’t help but wonder if this phrase shouldn’t hold even greater significance for us as believers than it had in the past. I say this because the mere fact that we are part of this body called the church is evidence that we have placed our faith in God But when I look back in retrospect at 2017, I can’t help but feel that our trust in God in 2018 is going to be put to the test as never before. Now, I recognize that this is a new year and that we should be hopeful, but quite frankly, I am not hopeful, that is, that the things of this world are going to improve dramatically. Just take 2017 as an example. It would have been extremely difficult for us at the end of 2016 to even imagine all that would be in store for our nation and even our world in 2017. And if 2017 is any indicator of what awaits us in 2018, and I believe it is, then it will be our trust in God that carries us through and nothing else.
As we embark upon this New Year, I am reminded of the words in Isaiah, which say:
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”(Isaiah 26:3, 4)
The peace spoken of here in Isaiah is not an external peace, the lack of strife and struggle in our lives, but it is an internal peace, a confidence that can only be ours when we place complete trust in God and surrender his sovereignty.
So, if you’re like me, then you have decided not to comprise a list of resolutions for 2018. What I have decided to do is to be very intentional when it comes to placing my trust in God, which by the way, is more than a mere verbal exercise. It is a commitment to act as one who truly does possess genuine trust in someone. And for this to take place, the words, “IN GOD WE TRUST,” have to be more than a phrase written on our currency; they have to be written upon our hearts. For our future will not be determined by politics or politicians. Nor will it be determined by activists or activism, but only as we commit our lives to the words that have been admonished by the U. S. Treasury , “IN GOD WE TRUST!”