Line after line of text scrolled by as I flicked my finger across the mouse pad, editing my weekly lot of articles for an online publication. A comma here, a fixed link there, a capital here, here…and here. Most of the articles lacked zest and cohesiveness, but I was finally editing an article that was clear and captivating. Suddenly, my cursor hovered over a word- a new word. My inner nerd grinned gleefully as I quickly opened another tab and Googled kairos.
In Greek, there are two words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos refers to the linear progression of time, and more darkly, takes the view of time as a master, or really, as an executioner. We are all slaves to time, and march to his drum. Not so with kairos.
Kairos refers to special moments and specific seasons, and when used in the Bible, it refers to God-ordained moments and seasons. Immediately, the word took hold of my spirit.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
Ephesians 5 is one of the approximately 80 places the word is used in the New Testament. In this passage, kairos is used to exhort the believer in regards to the times the church was living in. Just a few verses later, another admonishment to walking in God’s timing.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:25
A sobering reminder for the newest of believers to the oldest of travelers with God. Do we understand the times we are living in? Do we keep in step with our gracious shepherd? I myself am guilty of struggling to accept and walk in the season God has given me.
Doesn’t Feel Like Kairos
If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that my husband and I have been walking through fertility challenges for three years. While there’s nothing physical preventing conception, God’s answer for expanding our family has been “not yet.” That timing is difficult to accept for many reasons and so this season feels all wrong, like a sweater inside out and backwards. I feel left behind. I feel left out. I feel certain this is not kairos timing.
My soul has strained to rush past the Lord, but that has only left me tired and aching. One of the many lessons God has taught me on this journey is what it means to truly submit to his sovereignty by accepting his timing, his kairos.
I don’t know why God is having us wait to be parents. Perhaps the Lord is orchestrating our future child’s friend group. Perhaps there are world events in the works that because of when they are born, our future children will be perfectly in place to make a difference. Perhaps they are being protected from some unforeseen disaster, unforeseen at least to our eyes. Perhaps the Lord is working out flaws within myself and my husband to make us better parents in the future. All things unknown to us, but laid out clearly to the Author of Life.
Think about the implications of kairos in every area of our lives, the importance of walking in step with the spirit when it comes to restoring a relationship, witnessing to a friend or neighbor, parenting children, or launching a ministry. All of those endeavors and transitions offer opportunities to lag behind, or rush down the road. Both choices out of step with God. Both potentially hampering to our walk or to the lives of those around us.
Instead, I encourage you (as I remind myself) to remember that chronos is not our life’s master as children of God. Rather, God exercises kairos over our lives from the moment we are conceived to the moment we open our eyes in heaven. He’s not late. He’s not early. Let us be a people who are aware of the times, who are sensitive to God’s timing. Let’s walk in step with the spirit, walk in the power of kairos.