I counted and I had to change eleven clocks in my house last night. Twelve if you count the clock in my car. This number doesn’t include the clocks that automatically reset themselves in computers and cell phones during the wee hours of the morning, either. Now that is a lot of clocks. I am surrounded by clocks. Am I obsessed with time or what?
What is the purpose of Daylight Saving Time (DST)? I’ve read all of the news articles and Wikipedia entries about why we shift clocks twice a year. I see the discussions both pro and con about why we have DST. But I still don’t know why we have DST.
Dr. Seuss once astutely commented, “How did it get so late so soon?” I wonder this, too, during the summertime. Not having that extra hour sure seems to mix things up. There seems to be this fist fight going on during the summer between my mind’s clock and how high the sun is above the horizon and the time on the face of my house clocks. All of these seem out of kilter – none are in sync. It simply seems too confusing. If I were in charge, I would make everyone leave time alone. Isn’t there enough to worry about without having to mess with our body clocks and with the time showing on all of the clocks in our houses, in our cars, and on our phones? It’s all very confusing.
Seriously, how we describe time and attempt to capture and manipulate it is quite central to the human condition. In spite of its unstoppable forward – this is, of course, an arbitrary direction – motion we try desperately to quantify, stop, or slow it down. Or if we can’t stop or slow time down then we try to reduce or eliminate the evidences of time. We build stronger houses, purchase more cosmetics, keep investing, buy health and life insurance, and try to suspend moments with hand-held cameras. All, unfortunately, to no avail. Our clocks keep ticking and we never see anything falling up – rather, it is always falling down. This, in fact, describes the Second Law of Thermodynamics but we won’t spend any time on this.
Here are some cool quotes from a lecture by Stephen Hawking:
“The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down.
“…we will keep on getting older, and we won’t return to our youth. Because time is not going to go backwards, I think I better stop now.”
Time fascinates people – from the littlest one trying to learn how to tell time in kindergarten to the noted and famous theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author Stephen Hawking. I hope I’m not as simple as a kindergartner and I certainly am not as intense as Dr. Hawking but let me say this – whether time has a beginning or not, whether it will end or not, and whether it can speed up or slow down, there is no doubt that time is an intrinsic element of universal human existence. Time cannot be denied – it exists. Time wraps us. And if God gives us time – so much of it – it must be for a good reason.
Time is as much something created by God as is a tree, the sun, or a thunderstorm. Just as we can benefit from water or fresh vegetables, we can use time as a blessing and a benefit. It can – with a proper understanding – bear us through the hard times and reward us in the good. It is as predicable as, well, time. We can depend on God’s timekeeping – there will be days and nights and seasons and comings and goings – just like a precision timepiece.
And why is there time for us? Paul writes clearly why God created time.
“This is the God who made the universe and all it contains, the God who is the King of all heaven and all earth. It would be illogical to assume that a God of this magnitude could possibly be contained in any man-made structure, no matter how majestic. Nor would it be logical to think that this God would need human beings to provide Him with food and shelter—after all, He Himself would have given to humans everything they need—life, breath, food, shelter, and so on. This God made us in all our diversity from one original person, allowing each culture to have its own time to develop, giving each its own place to live and thrive in its distinct ways. His purpose in all this was that people of every culture and religion would search for this ultimate God, grope for Him in the darkness, as it were, hoping to find Him. Yet, in truth, God is not far from any of us. For you know the saying, ‘We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God.’ And still another said, ‘We are indeed God’s children.’ Since this is true, since we are indeed offspring of God’s creative act, we shouldn’t think of the Deity as our own artifact, something made by our own hands—as if this great, universal, ultimate Creator were simply a combination of elements like gold, silver, and stone. No, God has patiently tolerated this kind of ignorance in the past, but now God says it is time to rethink our lives and reject these unenlightened assumptions. He has fixed a day of accountability, when the whole world will be justly evaluated by a new, higher standard: not by a statue, but by a living man. God selected this man and made Him credible to all by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:24-31 VOICE)
Did you catch it? Instead of thinking of God as some tool who can be wielded as needed and whenever we want a god, God, instead, is a living deity set on giving everyone a chance to enter into his glory. He gives us time – verses 26-27 – to find him. He wants us to find him in the time that he gives us.
Time is yet another means given to each of us by God that is to be spent searching, then finding, and finally trusting God. Perhaps when we dilly-dally with our timepieces – trying to adjust to DST – we should pause a moment and thank God for the time he has given us to be with loved ones, to experience his creation, and to find him in all of his glory, majesty, and power. Thank you, God, for time.