15 Jul 2015
Every time we give a $20 bill to the cashier at the gas station, there it is: “In God We Trust.” Every time we stick a quarter in the parking meter downtown, there it is: “In God We Trust.” Any nation that’s going to be free and just, any nation that’s going to change the world depends on the idea that “In God We Trust.”
When God said to Moses, “I’m sending you to Pharaoh to free my people, the nation of Israel,” Moses didn’t starting praying Hail Marys. Instead, he might’ve said over and over to himself: “In God I trust, In God I trust, In God I trust.” It was a massive undertaking—the freedom of God’s people from slavery. And it couldn’t have been done without the idea that “In God We Trust.”
It’s interesting, though, when we look at our credit cards—they don’t say, “In God We Trust.” It’s more like, “We trust in the best interest rate. We trust in our own credit rating. We trust in our ability to manage our finances well.” We trust in the system we’ve created to get what we want, or to build what we want to build—even if it’s the nation that we’re trying to build. We can end up trusting in ourselves.
Of course, now, some of that trust in ourselves is good. When God called Moses, Moses first said, “Wait a minute, here . . . I’m not qualified for this.” To which God responded, “Nonsense. I trust in your abilities, and I will be with you through it.” To some extent, God does say, “Trust yourself.” But, of course, we trust ourselves because we trust and believe that God trusts us.
And there’s a danger here of over-thinking this. No matter what God is asking to do today or tomorrow, he’s asking us to have simple, childlike faith in him, who is “kind and merciful.” And that kind of faith puts more trust in God than in our own understandings of things. Moses doubted himself; in his own mind he couldn’t imagine himself doing what God asked. He was teetering between faith in his own understanding of himself and faith in the goodness of God’s Will for him.
Of course, we do that, too. We might feel that God is asking the impossible of us in some way. Or maybe God is simply asking us to do something that we haven’t done before. We can doubt ourselves. But to us God simply says, “Trust me. I’m building my nation and you’re just the person I need in this place and at this time. Trust me that I have chosen you.” And what else can we say, but, “Ok."
The next time we stick a quarter in the parking meter or give the cashier a $20 bill, maybe that phrase will pop out and we’ll remember, “Oh yeah, in God we trust.” God is building his kingdom, and he needs us to trust what he is doing.