We stash it.
We pocket, give away, and touch it frequently.
It is our source of survival; it is our means of happiness.
We celebrate when we get it, and punch holes in the walls when we need it.
We cry when we lose it.
As often as I interact with it, I never paid attention to the words inscribed on the coins and bills, until something stopped me in my tracks.
During the Civil War, the U.S. Treasury received many requests for “the Deity” (God) to be recognized on our currency. In response, the Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, sent these profound words to the Director of the Mint:
“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 next couple of years marked an extensive process full of meetings, design developments, and congressional gatherings to determine how our currency would include a reference to God. In 1873, Congress finally passed a law to include the words “In God We Trust” on all U.S. coins. To this day, the words are still there.
In 1932, George Washington’s face became the new front of the quarter piece. His face stared right at the words: In God We Trust.
What a bold statement! This image made a declaration that we, as a nation, would make trusting in God our focus, our fixed gaze, and that which we lay our hope on. However, over the years, subtly and probably without notice, something shifted.
Something so minor and yet so major. Something so inconspicuous, yet so prophetic over what (or who) our nation would slowly turn to.
Have you looked at today’s quarter? Go find one and see for yourself! If you can’t find one—that’s okay. Here’s a freebie 🙂
(Don’t spend it all in one place…)
One day my husband asked me if I could tell the difference between an old quarter and a new one.
I looked at it. I flipped it around. “It’s definitely shinier, there is more detail, and… it looks newer! Big deal.”
He smiled. “Have you ever noticed the way the face looks now?”
Do you see it?
The shift? The change?
The face is looking away from “In God We Trust.”
A face that once submitted its stare to trust in God has turned its face away and stares right at Liberty.
Is it a conspiracy? No.
Yes, it is amazing after all these years ‘In God We Trust’ is still there.
But, as a nation, can we honestly say those words are what we abide by?
As individuals, can we honestly say we are actively surrendering ourselves to those words in all areas of our lives? In God We Trust?
Or have we slowly, subtly and maybe even unknowingly shifted our face? Maybe we haven’t booted God out; His name is still there. He’s still in a corner of our lives, but our gaze and our focus is blatantly facing the other direction.
Our eyes are so quick to wander.
It feels like our devotion can be as brief as our attention spans.
We have our eyes fixed on God, devoted to walking this walk and living like Jesus when all of a sudden something tangible tries to take His place. Something we can feel, touch, grasp and understand. In the most subtle ways, we turn. We turn toward the thing that feels good, right and promises satisfaction.
Instead of turning to God, we turn to our own liberty and our own choices deciphered by our feelings, desires and cravings of our flesh.
But this is not the kind of liberty we have been called to. The Word says:
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:3
But when we forget why, how and for what purpose we were freed, it is so easy to start looking away from the Giver of Freedom and focus on the recipient of it- Ourselves.
“God, I love you- but I refuse to love those that don’t agree with me.”
“God, I trust you–but this is mine and I earned it.”
“God, I believe you– but I also believe that I’m right, and they’re not.”
“God, I need you- but I also need to be liked and approved of.”
“God, I want you– but I also want comfort. Acceptance. Riches. These dreams. These plans. This life.”
Even though this “turn of face” seems so difficult for us to recognize in our own lives, we are quicker than lightning to point it out in others.
America, we have made that one very clear.
We devour each others reputations, bicker over semantics, cuss each other out over politics, and dehumanize one another because we have chosen to see self instead of the souls of men. But what would happen if we stopped looking at how every body else is a part of the problem and ask:
“How am I part of the problem?”
“How have I contributed to this by turning my face away from trusting in God?”
“Are my eyes fixed on God or on myself?”
The only way our nation can begin to turn its face back to trusting God is by starting to ask where we’re looking.
It starts with you.
It starts with me.
And we start asking the hard questions about ourselves.
Our Faithful God, no matter how many times we have to redirect our face back towards Him, is able to bind our wandering hearts to His and heal our land. Because He has proven himself to be faithful even when we fail to stay true to Him. (2 Timothy 2:13)
Let us get our eyes off of self and fix our eyes on Him.
“In God We Trust”- May we shift our focus back to Him again