About 40 years ago, I made a deliberate decision to live a life of faith. Even though there have been many points along the way that challenged the validity of that decision, I don’t regret making it. I have learned much along the way about the secrets of living a life of faith. But secret isn’t the right word. In my experience, there is nothing secret about faith. It’s available to anyone who wants it and is willing to look for it.
On several occasions, I’ve had eye-opening revelations or as I like to term them now, apocalypses. This word is often misrepresented by associating it with a foretelling of catastrophic events, or doomsday predictions. But simply stated, apocalypse means to unveil or reveal truth. Something like that happened to me this week, and I’m excited to see if I can articulate it in a concise manner this afternoon.
As I have gotten to know The Ancient of Days in my journey of faith, I have found that he teaches a course on time management. The whole class centers around this one equation:
A quick glance at it seems confusing. What the hell does that mean? That literally means nothing, because they both cancel each other out.
Brilliant analysis. I wish I had seen that earlier.
I had an epiphany this week about this equation as I listened to the story of Diane Van Deren. She’s one of the best ultra-runners in the world. She described a series of events that has enabled her to have an advantage over other competitors.
Diane has epilepsy. She was an average runner when the seizures started. But her disease gave her a predictable warning signal before a seizure occurred. She described an aura that began to surround her. Over time, she learned that as soon as she felt this sensation, she put her running shoes on and went out the door to run. Running would quickly calm this aura and the seizure was held at bay. This was her strategy, and it was successful, but only short term.
Eventually, the seizures came quicker, so quick she could not get her shoes on fast enough. Her plan was rendered ineffective. Now what was she to do?
She submitted to an extensive bout of scans and tests to try to determine a solution to this crippling illness. She would be tested during a seizure. In so doing, doctors discovered the part of her brain governing the seizure was in her right temporal lobe, the place in the brain that oversees short term memory and orientation.
Diane agreed to do surgery to remove the misfiring part of her brain. The surgery was successful. No more seizures. This meant she could run again.
She returned to the sport she loved, and quickly discovered she had the ability to run for longer distances and durations. Why was this?
Diane describes that the surgery didn’t take away any discomfort of running, nor did it give her any super ability to process pain. So what was her newfound edge over the competition?
She no longer had a sense of time.
She told of running a 10-day endurance event in the Yukon, where she would run 23 hrs and sleep only one hour a night. By day 6, other runners would be complaining about mental exhaustion, “I can’t believe I’ve been out here 6 days and we have 4 more to go.”
That never entered Diane’s mind, because she no longer thinks about time the same way. She’s unable to. That part of her brain is now gone. Time became irrelevant to her.
The light bulb went on for me as I saw the implications of this story to my life of faith. It’s the point of the equation. A day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day because the Ancient of Days doesn’t deal in the boundaries of time. As Diane discovered, when time isn’t a factor, she gets to function very differently now, because she thinks very differently now. Without that limitation, she can go much further than she ever believed she could.
I have been praying for 35 years for some things to happen. I’ve gotten discouraged over that time. If I did the math right and applied the equation of The Ancient of Days, 35 years means I’ve only been waiting about 50 minutes. That’s a very different way of looking at things.
While time seems to be irrelevant to The Ancient of Days, it appears he has much more interest in timing.
Have you ever been waiting for something good to happen or to have a prayer be answered? And you wonder if you are stupid for thinking so, then all of a sudden, a random person from out of the blue contacts you, and then the next day, someone says a word to you in passing, then you get in the car and a song comes on the radio that outlines how you feel, and then you open your phone and see a word of encouragement on IG that seems like it was meant solely for you?
That’s kind how his timing works.
In my 40 years of connection with The Ancient of Days, I find him incredibly patient, delightfully humorous, and especially interested in involving me with his plans. He loves getting people enlisted in his effort to speak to us. When he wants our attention, he’s going to have fun orchestrating the timing of it all.
And that might take 35 years. Or 50 minutes, give or take.