Psalm 31:15-16 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.
Years from now our grandchildren will recall the current pandemic and wonder “When was that again”? My grandson, Ismael, who is one of those unfortunate Seniors of the 2020 High School class, will be able to name the exact date of the virus threat and all that went along with it. You don’t forget graduating the end of July on a Tuesday afternoon! Those who are younger today might only recall that there was a time when they couldn’t go to school and mom did her job from the kitchen table with a computer in front of her.
That is the difference of how we count time. There is always actual, chronological time. This devotion is written for Wednesday, May 6th, 2020. There is nothing we can do about this time. But today is also the time when we are anxious about such simple questions as to whether it is safe to go grocery shopping, attend church or if the fever you are having is the first act of a disease that will put you on a ventilator and into a medically induced coma.
The ancient Greeks had two words for ‘time’: Chronos and Kairos. Anything you can pinpoint on a clock or a calendar is Chronos time. These days our Chronos time is harder to keep straight. Last week I insisted a few times that Tuesday was Wednesday and Thursday was Friday. Our patience is failing as we feel that we have lost control over our Chronos time.
But then there is Kairos time. Kairos time means the right or opportune moment for action. God works in Kairos time. It was the opportune time for action when God sent Jesus to live among us, die and rise from the grave. What God does for us is deliberate and planned out in God’s time. When we pray to God, we expect immediate results. We forget that our time (chronos) and God’s time (kairos) are different. When our patience is wearing out, God is asking us to continue to hang in there and wait for the right or opportune moment.
We do not always like that kind of waiting. Yet, the Christian faith has always been a faith of waiting. We have entire seasons that call us to wait and to let God act in God’s time. Think of Advent, think of Lent.
Look at Scripture and biblical figures like Father Abraham and Mother Sarah. Would we wait THAT long to receive a child and have a promise fulfilled without just throwing in the towel, telling God to get lost? And so you can go through all of God’s holy Word and find His people waiting – waiting for the flood to rescind, waiting for slavery to end, waiting for the long trek through the wilderness end in the Promised Land, waiting for prophets to be proven right or wrong, waiting for God to redeem the world…
Waiting can be really hard. We have waited for many weeks now for our lives to get back to some sort of normalcy. We are so done with that whole waiting idea! As some areas of the country and some segments of our life in Iowa “open up”, we perhaps sense even more that we should move along. Expressing those hopes aloud will immediately cause someone to tell us that we need to wait much, much longer before we gather for worship, play at a park or eat at a restaurant. As we wait for Covid-19 to subside and for our lives to get back to what was normal before the outbreak, I pray that we can all find a way to live in God’s Kairos time. My guess is that it will not necessarily coincide with my and your Chronos time. Maybe we need to put the calendar away and wait for Kairos time to arrive. See you in worship when it does!! Amen PZ+