Waiting is never easy, yet so much of our lives are spent in waiting seasons. Back in September when I first read “December 7: Kairos, Not Chronos” in Kris Cameally’s new Advent book Come, Lord Jesus, I was in a season of waiting for a month-long creative block to end. And that “waiting” took place in the midst of a much longer waiting season. I don’t like being in the waiting seasons of life, when time and circumstances don’t seem to operate as we would like. Those times when things seem to be drawn out – when situations or people (or we, ourselves) don’t change as we would like them to…WHEN we would like them to. And the longer the waiting season, the harder it is to keep a proper perspective on it. Waiting seasons in life often feel like winter; things feel dark and barren and cold. On the surface there doesn’t appear to be much life. But beneath the layers of snow and ice and frozen ground, growth and change that cannot be seen are taking place.
Waiting is hard when we live in chronos time. Chronos is one of two Greek words used for time. It is the kind of time “we most relate to. This is what we set our watches to and mark our dates by, a measurable, chronological version of keeping track of life’s events, moments and hours.” And, Kris continues,
“Consequently, this is the version of time we tend to prefer. Chronos is the version of time we often assume when we pray, and wait for God to act.” (Come. Lord Jesus pg. 33)
I think we are more comfortable with chronos time because we can track it and see it and even, at times, manipulate it to fit our needs. But chronos is not the timing that God works in. He operates in the realm of “Kairos”. Kris says this about kairos,
“This time is not quantitative, or measurable by anything concrete, but is rather like a season…It is essentially, God’s timing. God…acts according to what He determines to be the “fitting time,”kairos. How discouraging this can seem to us, as we wait! What we’re tempted to miss in the waiting is what we cannot see–what God is working behind the scenes for our behalf. When we imagine God to be slow, or even late, it is because we have assumed, and even expected, (dare I say insisted) that God operate according to the timeframe that suits our comfort. We want to force Him into chronos because we can track that. We perpetually forget that God’s ways are not our ways.(Isaiah 55:8-9)” (pg 32-33.)
“What we’re tempted to miss in the waiting is what we cannot see–what God is working behind the scenes for our behalf” – After reading this line I began to experience a mindset shift. This is when I began to realize that in my long season of waiting I took my eyes off of what I already knew. I forgot His faithfulness in “working behind the scenes for our behalf”. When waiting seasons become long and drawn out it can be easy to grow weary, to become anxious, to begin to doubt… to even start to lose hope. As I continued to read the chapter this mindset shift began to blossom and grow, the growth and changes taking place beneath the surface of winter began to breakthrough like the start of spring does in March.
“Keeping in mind the mystery of God’s impeccable timing makes the waiting more bearable, while encouraging us to hope.” (pg 34)
Reading an Advent book in September became a “Kairos” moment for me. In the days and weeks after reading this chapter I began to see the ways God has been at work in me “in the waiting”. As my month-long creative block began to lift it became a symbol for this longer waiting season I had been in. That creative block season actually turned into a time of recognizing some patterns in my life that needed attention. Patterns that I may not have taken the time to look at if I had spent my time making art or repurposing a piece of furniture. God knows what is best for us. HIS timing is always perfect.
“The time God gives us in the waiting is a gift, whether or not it feels that way in the moment.” (pg 34)
When I can begin to look at viewing time “in the waiting” as a gift from God then I can allow myself to rest in it, rather than fight it, and embrace whatever God is up to behind the scenes on my behalf. Ironically, rest is my word for 2016 and through reading Kris’ new book I found another expression of my word in my life: rest “in the waiting”.
Guest Post By
Mary Brack: For the past few years my Advent practice has included making art daily in an Advent art journal. I have created a journal that I will use this Advent season specifically for art I make using the daily devotions from Come, Lord Jesus. You can follow my Advent art journey at my blog www.foundonbrighton.com.