But my eyes are toward You, O God the Lord; in You do I trust and take refuge; pour not out my life nor leave it destitute and bare."
The year was 1864. The Civil War that had torn our country apart over the past four years was coming to a close. This Bloody Conflict had laid waste the nation, especially the southern states, leaving harsh feeling and economic devastation. It was during this period of war and reconstruction, this time when the nation struggled to reconcile the past and unify the country, that Congress had imprinted on every coin, these words, “In God We Trust”.
The reason behind this addition to our money was to encourage the nation, to remind all those suffering that they did not have to endure their difficulties alone – for God could always be counted on to hold them up during those trying times. Salmon P. Chase, the U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln, wrote “no nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.”
The phrase In God We Trust is a shortened version of Francis Scott Keys famous poem, The Star Spangled Banner. The last stanza reads: “…And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Now, as our country struggles, there are those who desire the removal of this motto from our nation’s currency. Economic disaster, moral bankruptcy, spiritual and familial decline; our nation continues to contend with difficulties that devastate the emotional stability of its people. If ever we needed to be reminded that God is there for us, it is now.
"For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence." Psalm 71: 5
As we wade through the trials of life, let us not forget that we have a hope, that we are not alone. And like our forefathers before us, let us lean on the Father above to hold us up. As you reach into your pocket, as your hand closes around the coins within, look upon them and remember that it is in God we place our trust.
“The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are of God?’” President Thomas Jefferson
Susan Van Volkenburgh