Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by an incredible moon rise, or moon set?
You know, one of those moments when your breath is taken away by the hugeness of the moon hanging low in the sky. You may have even thought, or said something like, “The moon is huge tonight!”
You might find it disturbing to know that your eyes are playing tricks on you. It’s still a beautiful moon and totally worthy of your pause and admiration of its Creator, but just so that you know… you’re wrong.
Wow, quit being so sensitive. I’m just trying to teach you something.
The truth is that what you see when the moon is “so big” is really an optical illusion in fact, the moon is always the same size in the sky. Let me give you a few sources:
“First of all, let me make it clear that the effect is an optical illusion. If you measure the moon with a ruler held at arm’s length (a paper clip bent into the shape of a calipers will also work), you’ll find it’s always the same size no matter where it happens to be in the sky. If anything, the moon is slightly smaller at the horizon than it is at the zenith, mainly because it’s 4,000 miles (the radius of the earth) farther away.”
The Moon illusion is an optical illusion in which the Moon appears larger near the horizon than it does while higher up in the sky. This optical illusion also occurs with the sun and star constellations. It has been known since ancient times, and recorded by numerous different cultures. The explanation of this illusion is still debated.
Sometimes you can’t believe your eyes. This week is one of those times.
Step outside any evening at sunset and look around. You’ll see a giant moon rising in the east. It looks like Earth’s moon, round and cratered; the Man in the Moon is in his usual place. But something’s wrong. This full moon is strangely inflated. It’s huge!
You’ve just experienced the Moon Illusion.
For you skeptics, just make sure you note the last one was from NASA.
While its not certain why the human eye/mind does this to us, all of us, it is for certain that we all fall prey to this illusion. While an optical illusion sounds benign, almost fun, there is a sinister side.
The Thesaurus shows several alternative ways to describe an illusion as an erroneous mental representation, semblance, phantasm, phantom, shadow, apparition, something existing in perception only, misconception, head game, delusion, deceit.
I don’t know about you, but I find it a little disturbing, if not irritating, that my own eyes deceive me. Still, it is a good reminder. There are so many things we trust, that just aren’t trustworthy: our senses, cable news, the Internet.
I know, you agree with two out of three on that list, but if you can’t trust your own senses what can you trust?
- I won’t believe it till I see it.
- Seeing is believing.
- I saw it with my own eyes.
What a big moon we had last night, eh?
So, if our own senses can deceive us, how are we ever going to get this life figured out?
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Maybe it’s time we start following that which will not deceive or lead astray. Obviously, even our own senses aren’t doing a very good job at that.
As a man who is vexed with irrational fears and burdened with worries detached from reality, I know the struggle to not believe our eyes, let alone our mind’s eye. If we believe sin is real, then we must admit we are broken.
Without looking through the lens of the Lord we have no hope of seeing any better than a grade schooler straining to see the chalkboard through shattered spectacles.
So how do we see with His eyes?
When it comes to our relationships, let’s get into the Scripture.
When we have financial troubles, let’s ask the hard questions of how obedient we are with what we already have.
When we are confused, hurt, lost or in any need, let’s lean on the Lord and nothing else.
May we develop a new habit of turning to God for real understanding, and trusting Him even more than we trust ourselves, our senses, or very often even our own mind.
Don’t fall for the tricks of the eye.