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Due time.


Syncing our clock to his involves more than turning a couple of knobs or pushing some buttons. More than anything it means shifting our concepts beyond conventional and limited human measures---time zones, timepieces, countdown clocks, calendars, start and finish points, schedules---to a totally new dimension. This does not mean we should ignore the chronological value of time or our keeping pace with it. Certainly we are to pray, "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12, ESV). Even so, there is a larger view of time, what I will refer to as "due time", that can guide us in fulfilling our God given purpose and mission in life.

The ancient Greeks spoke of time in two ways: chronos, the sequential measure of time, and kairos, the opportune time. Chronos is used 53 times in the New Testament and typically annotates the numbering of days, weeks, months, years, and established periods of time. There are 86 occurrences of kairos in the New Testament, usually referencing appointed, proper, or just the right times of great value or opportunity. When the Apostle Paul wrote, "making the best use of the time" (Ephesians 5:16, ESV), he referenced kairos, the God-appointed moments that cannot be measured or counted. Syncing our clock with God's involves the hope and assurance of these appointed times, and the spiritual virtue of waiting for them.

Let me go personal for a moment. When our son Brian was murdered in 2011 Harriet and I were thrust into a period of grief and sorrow we had never known. In the years since his death we've known tragic loss that we will never get over. There was one Bible promise, however, that gave us courage, hope, and the firm assurance that God would guide us through it. A dear friend brought this verse to us on the night after we learned of Brian's death. This verse has governed our grief since that evening---

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due

time.

1 Peter 5:6, NIV

Peter used the term kairos in promising a "due time" for God to lift us from the heavy weight of personal grief. It's not a chronos measure of time that we've marked or circled on a future calendar. The "when" of this time is totally unknown to us. Yet, it is the assurance that the "...God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you" (1 Peter 5:10, ESV) at the proper, appointed, or right time. Due time. We must wait for it.

That is the real test of aligning our clocks to his, waiting on God's time. We humans are so prone to view all time in the conventional manner, even when we're waiting on God. And, we're not alone here. Many of the great people in the Bible learned the hard lessons of kairos time. Over and over King David asked "How long, Lord?" (see Psalm 13:1; 94:3, as examples). Isaiah asked "How long, O Lord?" (Isaiah 6:11) after receiving his prophetic commission. Habakkuk also verbalized this question" "O Lord, how long shall I cry for help?" (Habakkuk 1:2). Waiting on God's time may be our most challenging spiritual discipline.

But, it is certain, his time---the appointed or proper time. The anonymous author of Hebrews certified the certainty of God's promise of due time.

For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater

by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you

and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained

the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and

in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God

desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable

character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable

things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have

strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure

and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the

curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high

priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:13-20, ESV

His promise, and time, is our "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul". It is the promise that "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11, ESV). We can't mark this time on a calendar, but we know it will come. It's because "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1, ESV).

Syncing our clock to his involves the numbering of our days, and the assurance that his promise of "due time" will sustain us as we live this life.

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