We live in an 1890’s Queen Anne Victorian house beside the Chattahoochee River. It is quite an amazing gift for this season in our lives. The front, of course, has a large porch that provides a most comfortable place “to just be”. Fresh breezes, cozy rockers and critters croaking, all combine to quickly evoke a carefree atmosphere. Neighbors walk by with their children and stop a moment to talk, dogs bark, and an old large oak provides shade on one section or the other all day. On a front porch you are exposed. No hiding out from the folks around you. Yet, you can curl up and nap, swing, pray, or read a book.
Life feels manageable on a porch, especially with the influence of a river nearby. They call it living at a walking pace when life moves with the rhythm of a river. Life becomes more manageable. People see each other in a different light on a porch. It opens the window to the Kairos (God moments), if you let it. Most of us have lost that precious opportunity by driving into our garage, entering our safe, fortified homes and ignoring the people closest to us. I think the pace of our lives can lead us to want to control something. So, we put an invisible sign on our door; NO TRESPASSING.
Kairos is from an ancient Greek word meaning: a fitting time, opportunity or season. Webster tells us, “it is a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action or decision”. It is not Chronos, which is the Greek word for chronological, quantitative time. Kairos is more qualitative and permanent. For the believer in Christ, I believe it involves listening for the voice of God. The still small voice or the burning bush is hard to recognize in our bright screened, electronic, high-volume world. These spiritual appointed times are not just found on our porches or in our prayer closets. They can happen everywhere. But Porch time is like a training ground for a life disciplined for war… before the storm starts to rage. The storm will come, but to be ready one must know the secrets of Kairos. During the testing, those practiced special times become a wellspring of the Peace of Christ from which to draw. If you have repeated this discipline in the quiet and restful moments, you can more easily remember how to quickly move there in a storm. Jesus Christ will come in at the most needed moment to carry you through.
Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). He reminds us that when we learn from and follow Him, His burden is light. I keep learning that when He brings me through a struggle, He carries the weight.
Also, Kairos can be filled with joining Him in the Dance. Our praising the splendor of His Holiness and shouting our thanksgiving for His faithful love, are just as much a part of the battle as prayer. Please read Second Chronicles 20:1-22 (HCSB version) to see the wonderful illustration of that principle.
I know this to be true, because my life has afforded many opportunities to practice Kairos. I did not know that word existed until I read Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle. She explains the joy of using your creative expression to enter His presence and show His beauty. Life began presenting me with more and more impossibilities. Understanding and practicing Kairos was becoming imperative.
One very memorable time was when a grown child left home and could not be found for 10 days. No contact with a loved one in this age of cell phones is scary. We had the photos and information printed on posters and in newspapers. Finally, the Nancy Grace television show aired the news. Our church had a special prayer for our family and loved one. My husband and I had gone to a reported sighting town and searched the area for several days. No sign or communication to bring hope.
A few days later, Gisselle, the leader of our Ladies Bible Study Groups, came to my house to be of any help she could be. By that point, I was not even able to answer the phone inquiries from all the people trying to help. After a few hours, we both knew we needed some quiet. Where did we go? To the porch! She made some tea, we sat in the quiet and we cried out and prayed. I was able to cry until there were no more tears. The Lord Jesus comforted me. Again, I had to place all my fears on Him... Kairos.
Within an hour…the answer came. A Charlotte Hospital physician called. The lost one was found!Allow yourself the gift of Porch time.