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In God We Trust

By Lynn Larkin MSW, ACSW

"In God we trust" has been the motto of our nation and most of us have daily contact with this written declaration on our money as we put quarters in parking meters or pay for our latte. The events of September 11th could be seen as a call to enhance our trust in God. With the events of the world today our sense of security in the outside world is crumbling. Many are finding that events they once took for granted such as getting on an airplane or opening mail are now filled with fear and anxiety. How does one feel safe and secure with constant news reports warning us of the many dangers of the world?

The first thing to remember is that we never could trust the outside world. Before September 11th planes crashed and people left for work in the morning never to return home because of car accidents or other causes. Acts of violence with innocent people dying have been occurring both in the United States and around the world. The world was never safe but we Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security. Sufi's have tried to always keep the uncertainty of the world in their awareness by using the phrase "insh'Allah" (God willing) after any statement of intention to emphasize the lack of control we have over even the simplest things. "I will see you tonight, insh'Allah." "I will do that for you, God willing." We never know what will happen in the world and "insh'Allah" is a constant reminder of this uncertainty and that we can only trust God.

A well-known Sufi saying is, "Place your trust in God, but always tie your camel". This emphasizes that we cannot place our trust in the world and it also shows that trust is not a passive thing. We are still called to do what we can to keep harm from occurring. In the end we must place our trust in God, but in the meantime we have a responsibility to do what we can to keep ourselves and the world as safe as possible.

Sometimes it can be difficult to accept that we can not trust the world. I have had several clients over the past month wanting me to help them trust that the world is safe. The problem is that the world is not safe. In one of my first meetings with my teacher, Shah Nazar Seyed Ali Kianfar, I brought up a difficulty I had in trusting others. Thinking he would help me overcome what was blocking me from trusting I was surprised when he replied, "never trust anyone" "no one is trustworthy". He then added, "only God is trustworthy. If you trust God you don't have to worry about trusting people". This advice has been important to me over the years and whenever I would feel lack of trust in a person or situation I would turn to prayer and meditation. This has been especially important since September 11th when I have been more acutely aware that the outside world cannot be trusted. 

With all that is occurring in the world today many people have struggled with trusting a God that would allow events like this to happen. What has helped me most in this is remembering that I have a limited perspective of what is occurring and the events are beyond my human understanding. I keep remembering the words of Dr. Kianfar in May when he was addressing the issue of evil and suffering and gave the example of the "big bang" that created the world. How many of us if we had the opportunity to observe this occurrence would have been able to trust that a wonderful world filled with life would be created from this event? Part of trusting is trusting even when one does not understand.

Finding this place of trust within us, placing our trust in God, is essential in these times of change. Because of this, practices such as meditation and prayer are more important than ever. For those who find themselves filled with anxiety and fear my advice is turn off the news and go sit in prayer. As our country comes together in Unity following these events we must remember the motto our country was founded upon and place our trust in God. 

ŠLynn Larkin (, Written for Insight Newsletter, 2001





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