At that time Jesus answered and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” Matthew 11:25
Have you ever said to a child, “Hurry up, we need to leave in 5 min!” or “You need to come home in a half hour for dinner”? If you have then you’ve realized that children have absolutely no concept of time. But fast forward that same little one into adulthood, and suddenly time is of the essence. Maybe it happens when we buy them that first watch, and suddenly everything begins to run off the clock. Or maybe it’s after they get that first real job, and the boss starts throwing out all the time clichés: “Time is money,” or “Stop wasting time, there’s work to be done!” Suddenly time becomes a commodity, and as “time marches on,” the clock begins to control our lives and our conversations. Suddenly, we begin to “run out of time” to get all the things we need to get done. It becomes “crunch time” as deadlines and pressures make us aware that we can either “use our time wisely,” or lose time altogether. And under all this pressure we begin to look for ways to “save time” and “make time.” Even on vacation, we strive to “make good time” to get where we’re going. Finally we collapse, realizing that we just “don’t have time” to get it all done. The 24/7 culture has grabbed us and indoctrinated us into believing that productivity and output are what matter most – that what you can accomplish in a day or a week determines your worth as a person. As Thomas Frank notes, “The chronologies of our individual and institutional lives must depict a continuous journey toward ever higher goals, upward mobility, and never ending growth.”
But not all time is the same; every moment in our lives isn’t measured by the same standard. Sitting in traffic as you work your way through a construction zone is far different than chatting on the phone with a long-time friend. And the hands of the clock seem to barely move while waiting in the doctor’s office; but the last 5 minutes of a Green Bay Packers football game can take 30 minutes, and we hardly even notice. Yet, this is still time measured as we typically think of it – chronos (the root of chronology) time, if you will. Chronos time is measured units of a specific duration, the ordinary time of daily living.
There is another type of time – the type Jesus is talking about in the Scripture above, and the type of time that’s scattered throughout the New Testament to describe a turning point, a decisive moment, or a time of fulfillment. Kairos time is divine time – its God’s time, unhindered by the boundaries we place on time. In kairos time, God reveals Himself and speaks to our hearts. It’s the kind of time when our deepest transformation takes place, as peace flows through our bodies to refresh us and renew us. Kairos time is the time of worship, prayer, silence, and meditation when we come into the awesome presence of the Lord.
But here’s the thing: we get caught in chronos time and rarely are we settled enough in kairos time to hear the small, still voice of the Lord. Instead we hear God’s voice in bits and pieces – between, over and around the shouts of the world. If you long for a deeper relationship with the Almighty, then you have to find time – 15 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch or during your time of worship – to let go and let God speak to you. My prayer is that you will find that kairos time your soul hungers for.