Scripture Reading: Isaiah 65:17-25
We trust, sir, that God is on our side. It is more important to know
that we are on God’s side. ―Abraham Lincoln
ccording to a website called “On This Day” (onthisday.com), 161 years today, the Rev. Mark R. Watkinson, pastor of Prospect Hill Baptist Church of Ridleyville, Pennsylvania, wrote a letter petitioning the Treasury Department to “recognize Almighty God” on American coins.
In 1861, the nation was in the early stages of a civil war. Watkinson was well aware that the Confederacy had turned to God in their constitution. The Pennsylvania preacher wanted everyone to know that the southern rebels did not have a monopoly on God. “The ignominy of heathenism,” that is, the Confederacy, Watkinson wrote, must realize that God favored the Union not the Confederacy, and that, for their part, the Union trusted in God. The letter was written November 13, 1861.
“In God We Trust.” It soon became a rallying cry — for both sides in the war. In the South, soldiers often carried a flag imprinted with the motto: “Our cause is just, our duty we know; In God we trust, to battle we go.”
By the mid-1950s, “In God We Trust” was on our coins and paper money. On July 30, 1956, President Eisenhower signed legislation declaring the phrase to be the national motto. Days later, he would be anointed the standard bearer for the Republican Party and be re-elected in November.
“In God We Trust” might be the most well-known motto in the world. But it leads us to the question, “In whom do we really trust?” And then there’s the question, “What does it mean to trust in God?”
As to the first question, let’s remember that God has clearly revealed a moral code by which we should live. It’s a sign that we trust God when we follow it. It’s a sign that we do not trust God when we don’t.
This answers the second question as well. In short, those who trust in God tend to stay within the lanes, as it were. They honor God with their obedience and service.
They are the people who follow the advice in Proverbs 3: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (vv. 5-6). —Timothy Merrill
Prayer: In whom else, and in what else, would I put my trust, except in you, O Lord? In these troubled times, to whom can I turn but to you? Guide me in the paths of righteousness. Amen.