I’m sure you’ve used the old cliché “perfect timing” or you’ve taken it a step further if you believe that “God’s timing is perfect.”
I’ve been reading a small book recently (I finished it quickly and am in the process of slowly rereading it) entitled God’s Timing for your Life by Dutch Sheets. In the book he writes about different New Testament Greek words for “time” that are used in the Bible: chronos and kairos.
Chronos is that period of life (and there may be many) where you just seem to be plodding on. Not much is changing, it’s the same old same old, and very often you want something if not everything about your situation to change. You may be aware of a promise that God has given you a long time ago, and in your mind it’s about time that promise came to pass! You may even be starting to doubt that promise, or even worse, you may be trying to make it happen for yourself. Abram and Sarai did that with Hagar – not recommended.
Kairos on the other hand is when things start moving – often fairly quickly. Kairos is that time when God begins to put into action that which he promised. Sometimes things happen that we’re not expecting – but so often God works and brings things into being in ways that are incredibly different to our ways. We wouldn’t do things like God does them, which is a very good thing.
I have recently had a chronos period in my life lasting around six years, if not longer. I have always been very aware of God’s promise to me, given in December 1998 when he brought me into his Kingdom, that “one day I would be working for him full time.” Over the years that calling became more specific and it turned out to be the pastoral ministry that God was preparing me for. The last six years then, from 2010, was a chronos period for me. I was teaching in a primary school, and from 2013 was a minister-in-training at the same time. During those years it was an almost constant prayer of mine for God to get me out of teaching and into a full-time, paid ministry post. It wasn’t happening, and I could see no way of it happening.
And it’s often the way that in chronos periods of life, you just can’t see any way of that period ending. There is often no solution, and it would take a miracle for something to change.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Fortunately, because God is the author of time and sees time as a whole, from the beginning through to the end, apparent miracles do certainly happen. At just the right time, God causes shifts in events and circumstances to happen, where we have no power to do anything, and things start to change. This is the kairos period. Kairos may bring the unexpected, but it’s God. Be aware of his Spirit in these times. Pray hard in these times. Know what he’s doing. In the kairos time God is changing things and bringing a shift which will ultimately, if you keep following him, bring you into the fulfilment of what he promised, of what he has for you.
Above all, know that the chronos period you may well be in right now will not go on forever. Keep faithful to God in this time, because even though you may well have no idea what’s going on, God certainly does. He has the perfect timing in mind – he has had all along. Don’t be impatient. Wait. Trust. Pray. And don’t take matters into your own hands. God is faithful to bring about what he promised and all that is good for you – in his way, in his time.