Does it ever seem to you that God shows up late sometimes? Surely you’ve had it happen to you. In spite of persistent prayer and patient waiting (OK, almost patient), God did not intervene in a timely manner.
- Applications for grad school were turned down—three years in a row. Finally, the fourth year, acceptance was granted. Why?
- The job you needed ASAP didn’t materialize for two years. Why?
- The bracelet that had been your grandmother’s suddenly disappeared. Heartsick, you searched and searched. No bracelet. Suddenly, months later, there it was–caught in a sweater you hadn’t worn in ages. Why?
Why the delay???
I know this sounds impertinent, but in all of these cases and many more, it would appear God was not paying attention.
…Could it be God operates in a different time frame, one not governed by days, months, or years?
After all, God is eternally the same, always was and always will be. Time is rather inconsequential to him. He lives in a dimension where past, present, and future are not separated.
Time for God is measured more in seasons. Paul included the concept in his persuasive address at Athens:
“From one man [God] made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live” (Acts 17:26).
The Greek word Paul used in that verse is kairos. It means, “the suitable or appropriate time for something to occur or for something to be accomplished.”
In his speech, Paul was referring to the appropriate times certain people-groups would rise to power, such as the Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans.
The Greeks had a second word for time: chronos. This is the kind of time we measure with clocks and calendars. This is our comfort zone–the kind of time we know and understand best. Perhaps that’s why we anticipate God should operate within chronos.
But kairos is God’s time, as in “I choose the appointed time, it is I who judge uprightly” (Psalm 75:2).
Taking the definition of kairos into consideration, this verse would read:
“I choose the suitable and appropriate time to accomplish my purposes.”
And what would be the foundation of God’s choice of kairos?
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne” (Psalm 89:15).
Everything God does is right, including when he does it.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out” (Romans 11:33)!
It’s been said: “If I had the power of God, there are many things that I would change; but if I had the wisdom of God, I would not change a thing.”
That would include the timing of events, too.
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him” (1 John 4:9, NLT).
Would a God who loves like that fail to pay attention, and mess up the timing of his involvement?
Kairos implies “at just the right time.”
At just the right time, the door opened for grad school.
At just the right time, that job was provided.
At just the right time, the keepsake bracelet was found.
By not asking why we had to wait, perhaps we demonstrate a modicum of maturity.
(Art credit: www.inscribewritersonline.blogspot.com.)