Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Perception of Time

My An Arkie's Faith column from the November 17, 2021, issue of The Polk County Pulse.

The air has the crisp feel of fall, and the stars are bright overhead as I load windshields into the back of my little S-10 shop truck. I have a full load this morning, with every slot in my rack filled. When I have loaded everything into my truck, I drive to the gas station to fill up and then head back to Mena.

I have been making two or three trips a week to DeQueen to pick up my auto glass for the past several months. My supplier no longer delivers to the Mena area but does deliver to DeQueen. During the night, they drop off my order at a storage unit that I have rented. On the days I make the trip to pick up my glass, I leave early in the morning to be back at my shop in time to open before 8:00 A.M. 

Today as I leave DeQueen, it is already twilight. Even though the sun isn’t up yet, its light filters through the atmosphere and gently illuminates the landscape. As I drive, a rosy hue begins to creep across the morning sky. Golden fingers of sunlight begin to appear. As I round a corner, there is a large open pasture to the east. Suddenly the sky is ablaze with the fire of the rising sun, casting long shadows on the ground. Soon the sun peaks out from behind the tree line. I see the first rays of the sun fall on the earth. Before my eyes, the clouds become lit with a fabulous, colorful light as the rising sun announces the coming of a new day. I pull over to the side of the road and get out to take a photo. 

It is the first sunrise I have seen for a while. My schedule hasn’t changed, but my perception of time has. Daylight Saving Time has ended until next spring, and last Sunday, we turned our clocks backward one hour. The intriguing thing about Daylight Saving Time is that we aren’t changing time. It is simply our perception of time. We aren’t changing how long the sun remains in the sky, and we aren’t changing the 24 hours in a day. We’re simply changing what answer the clock gives us.

The new time on my clock means that I witnessed the sunrise on my morning drive back from DeQueen instead of driving back in the dark. With the time change comes a new perception of my surroundings. I can see everything clearly as I go through the countryside. With the sunrise, the leaves of the trees glow in the warm morning light. The branches of each tree spread out with glorious fall colors. I had made this drive just a few days ago and had seen nothing. But today, the beauty of the sunrise and the magnificent fall colors speaks to my soul. “The God of gods, the mighty Lord himself, has spoken! He shouts out over all the people of the earth in every brilliant sunrise and every beautiful sunset, saying, ‘Listen to me!’” Psalms 50:1 (TPT)

I am happy to be driving in the warmth of the morning light and am enjoying the beauty of the landscape around me, but in the back of my mind comes the nagging realization that tonight when I leave work, it will already be dark. As much as I enjoyed this morning, I am not looking forward to it getting dark so early.

It’s interesting when you think about it. My perception of time changed. Because of a predetermined concept, we all turned our clocks back an hour and began to function in this new time. And our perception changed. We didn’t change any physical thing. “It is the Lord who created the stars, the Pleiades and Orion. He turns darkness into morning and day into night.” Amos 5:8 (NLT) The sun comes up at the same time, but we perceive that time differently. We arrange our schedules around this new perception of time. 

I am often frustrated by my lack of control over my life. It makes me wonder how my life would become more enjoyable if I changed my perception. What if I looked at my situation in a new light? What would happen if I turned back the clock of my perception?

Changing our perception does not mean ignoring the hardships of this life. We all have difficulties. We all spend time driving in the dark. But Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (TLV) We will still grieve over things lost and fight against injustice. We will still have troubles in our lives. But we can look at these things in a way that does not destroy our emotions or our stability. When we change our perception of this life in terms of God’s love for us, we see our struggles in a new light. This idea takes time to become a reality. Like our bodies adjusting whenever there’s a time change, our minds and spirits need time to grow used to new perceptions. It won’t happen overnight.

You can start changing your perception by remembering that God is in control. We aren’t in charge of the sun or the earth, but God is. He won’t leave you forsaken when you feel things are beyond your reach. Trust in God’s plan when you struggle with desiring a situation to turn out a specific way. Trust in His goodness. You can have the same security as the Psalmist who wrote, “When I felt my feet slipping, you came with your love and kept me steady. And when I was burdened with worries, you comforted me and made me feel secure.” Psalms 94:18,19 (CEV)

Gentle Reader, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NLT) We can have peace and joy trusting God instead of trying to control everything ourselves. We may not have the power to change all things, but we can change our perception of all things. Changing our perception can help us remember that God is in control. He says, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God. I will be exalted over the nations! I will be exalted over the earth!” Psalms 46:10 (NET)

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