Acts 1:7-8 (NKJV)
And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
There is a distinction here in what Jesus was saying to His disciples just before He was “taken up” into heaven. The disciples were grieving the loss of their Savior, the man they had come to know and follow. The days were hard, living under the rule of the Roman Empire, persecution had risen and I would guess that the disciples might have even feared for their lives in this time. The One whom they had pinned all their hopes upon had died a brutal death. What were they to do now? Through Jesus showing Himself to them numerous times after His death, appearing to many of them in moments of doubt and fear, they were beginning to perceive that perhaps their friend and Savior was indeed going to usher in peace and power. There was a faint glimmer of hope building in their spirits.
The definition of “times or seasons” as stated in Acts 1:7 are two-fold. “It is not for you to know times.” The root of this word times is chronos, meaning time as we know it, chronological time, the times we live in. The root word of seasons is kairos, meaning an opportunity or occasion. Chronos times means time as it is occurring in our lifetime. Kairos, on the other hand, indicates a God-given opportunity in the midst of chronos time.
As I have pondered the difference in these two words, I was pointed back to verse 7; “it is not for you to know chronos times or even kairos moments or opportunities…But you shall receive power…!” This verse is a promise from Jesus, to His disciples and to us, to be encouraged no matter what the days look like. As I waited with God in a quiet moment, He suddenly brought back a memory to my mind, one which I feel is a great example of the difference between chronos and kairos moments.
In 2007 I had to have surgery, and it happened on a Tuesday. The surgery went ok and I was sent to my room to recover. On each morning following, my surgeon would come to my room and listen to my intestines for signs they were waking up from the anesthesia. Wednesday through Friday, they were not active, meaning they were not waking up and acting the way they were supposed to. I could not eat solid foods until my intestines woke up. After he left me on Friday morning, with no explanation as to why this was taking so long, I could read the concern on his face. “This isn’t normal,” was all I could think of and fear began to fill up my mind.
I knew I needed to reach out to someone to pray for me, so I called a new friend who had come alongside me during this season of my life. I told her what was happening and asked her to pray my intestines to wake up. She told me, “of course I’ll pray for you Linda, but I want to suggest something to you. Did it ever cross your mind that perhaps God isn’t allowing your intestines to wake because He has a divine appointment for you there in the hospital and just perhaps that person hasn’t even arrived yet?” And with that, she then prayed over me for everything to begin working as it was supposed to and we soon hung up.
Her words hung in my mind; “He hasn’t allowed things to wake up because there’s someone He needs you to meet and perhaps they aren’t even there yet!” Had I considered such a thing? NO! I was so caught up in thoughts only of myself and I was caving into the arrows of deceit that the enemy was planting in my mind. “What’s wrong with me? Why God? I’m afraid and why aren’t you healing me as I have believed you would?” I cried out inside. Fear had a hold but my friend’s words invaded my very selfish thoughts. “Could this be? Could you really have me here because you want me to speak to someone here before I go home?” Now my imagination was alert and wide awake. Who Lord? Who was this mystery person or persons You mean for me to speak to?
The rest of the day and evening, I was now on assignment! Her words had electrified my intentions and focus onto who this person might be…and I was definitely looking. I was walking around the floor many times each day because the activity and exercise could help wake up my slumbering gut. But now, as I walked and walked, I was looking. Intently.
You see, I was caught in a chronos moment of time. Reality. My gut wasn’t working, and I couldn’t eat nor go home until it woke up. I had no control over the situation. Does this remind you of how a lot of things look right now in our lives? It should because we are living in the chronos time of our days. But my friend had made a suggestion to me, one that would take my mind completely off of my own circumstances and become aware that God might have in this dilemma a kairos opportunity for me!
Sure enough, late Friday evening, as I was once again walking the floor, I rounded a corner and fairly ran into my divine appointment! A young woman I had noticed earlier was walking toward me, crying out loud and asking no one in particular, “what am I supposed to do, what am I supposed to do?” In that instant, I knew she was the one. How did I know? I cannot tell you in words, it was simply a knowing in my heart.
I asked if I might help and the next ten minutes or so were spent with her, hearing her story about her estranged father who was here, having a horrible experience of pain that would not relent after his surgery . She was so distraught, all her story fairly tumbled from her lips into the ears of a total stranger.
We talked of God and her dad. I suggested that she pray and ask God to forgive her for her long separation from Him and then to ask for prayers of healing over her dad. She told me she loved her dad so much, but due to the fact that they hadn’t had much time together over the last 10 years, she didn’t know how to tell him that. She didn’t think she could ask God to forgive her and she didn’t think she could tell her dad how she felt. I prayed with her (with her permission) and asked her to re-dedicate her life to Christ, and then to believe God had given her this opportunity with her dad to tell him all she longed to. And just like that, our time came to an end. We hugged and parted ways.
The next morning, my surgeon came in, checked me, and lo, my gut had awakened! Oh thank you Jesus! I would be discharged after one more day, once I had some food and all things remained stable. I had one more glimpse of my mystery friend later that morning, once again on my walk around the floor. Her dad’s room was at the end of one of the halls and the day before the door was always shut. This day, the door was open and as I walked toward it, my young friend was sitting on the other side of his bed, facing me, reading something in her lap. As I drew nearer, she glanced upwards, saw me, gave me a ‘thumbs up’ and flashed a huge smile! That smile told me everything I needed to know. God was good and He had shown up in her life and also in mine.
I was in a chronos moment of my life, a dire one at that. At the suggestion of a friend, my focus came off of my own circumstances and re-focused onto looking for a kairos moment. Sure enough, as I forgot about the chronological events occurring, my focus shifted, resulting in a kairos opportunity!
I would like to suggest to you to read Acts 1 again, looking there for your kairos message of hope from God. The similarities of those days in Jerusalem are very similar to that which we are living in now. Political upheaval, a pandemic crisis, isolation, fear, maybe even persecutions…all occurring in the chronos time frame. And yet, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever,” (Heb 13:8), and “God is no respecter of persons,” (Acts 10:34), meaning kairos moments are for now just as much as they were spoken of for the benefit of the disciples. Indeed, God came in a kairos moment for the disciples, after they spent time in the upper room together, praying in one accord, and waiting as they were instructed. Everything changed in a moment for them.
These days may be hard and in fact, may become harder, but in the midst of them are kairos moments waiting to occur for you and for me! All we are asked to do is take our eyes off of our own circumstances and begin to look, really look, for the kairos opportunities waiting for us. Jesus Christ, the giver of kairos moments, is waiting. Spend some moments with Him in your upper room or gather with others and pray to see Him! If you spend time there, He will come!