It doesn’t surprise me in the least to see that according to a couple different polls (Gallup & CNN), American trust in our government and politics is at an all-time low, even as we are in the throes of the election process. Many people wisely recognize that many if not most of the campaign promises out there will not be realized, though the blame game perpetually continues by all the sides, regardless of who is at fault.
Some say that most of this distrust began with the Watergate scandal and the resignation by President Nixon. Polls conducted by the University of Michigan consistently showed that the majority of Americans in the 1960’s and early 1970’s believed that the government could be trusted all or most of the time… until Watergate. Except for a brief period of patriotism immediately after the 9/11 attacks, confidence in the government has remained under 50% ever since. Perhaps there is some truth to the phrase, “It’s just politics”.
At the same time, diagnosed depression is at an all-time high. Is there a connection? For the most part, I believe so! I see its symptoms in marriage as viewed by pop-culture, messed-up parenting, and modern sports. I find the solution to all the problems in our society…in my wallet!
On my bills & coins I find the largely neglected phrase, “In God we Trust”. It was so wisely put there by the US Treasury in 1864, recognizing that everything we have that is good is given to us by God. As a result, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861:
‘Dear Sir: 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. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition.’
This is not to become a mere good luck charm or fire insurance on our part, even as our politicians so glibly use the phrase “God Bless America”. We have been so incredibly blessed by God in this nation, with power given to us for a time to bless and influence others. We are also held accountable to Him regarding how we use these blessings.
Failure to recognize God’s Hand in the world is conversely catastrophic. We see glimpses of God’s Power through the powerful blizzards, hurricanes and tornados which push their way across our nation, yet we rarely pause our routines to give Him Glory. We make our daily plans without so much as a thought towards what HE wants ignoring His clear commands:
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (James 4:13-17)
We so easily put our ultimate trust in government, rather than God, even while claiming to “believe”. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
So again, it comes down to this: Do we live in a way that seeks to please God and do His will, or do we live the rollercoaster life of putting our ultimate trust in sinful, fallible humanity and then become surprised or depressed when they inevitably let us down?
I know, this sounds so “Black & White”, but trust me, it shows! Where do you put your trust? In Whom? These words from the old hymn were ringing in my heart today, and may its words instruct yours as well:
This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!
This doesn't mean that we are not to be the best-possible citizens and exercise our privileges to vote, etc., and impact our world in Jesus' Name; it does mean that we also recognize our place under the sovereign reign of a Holy God, and whatever happens, "our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3:20-21)