This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ (Jeremiah 6:16)
There is an ancient Greek word kairos, which means ‘a propitious moment for decision or action’, often translated as ‘opportunity’. There are times in our lives when we feel we have reached a moment for decision, when we have the opportunity to change direction.
Sometimes these are forced on us by circumstances, sometimes a new opportunity arises and we have to decide whether or not to take it. But sometimes we have to create these moments for ourselves.
Frustration and vision can be two sides of the same coin. If you’re frustrated, look for what God might be saying. In a kairos moment, God speaks, and there is a chance to stop and hear God, repent and believe God, and set your life on a different path.
The prophet Jeremiah was sent to see a visual aid for God’s message:
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message. So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. (Jer 18:1-4)
The message was about God’s supremacy over the nations, but it can be applied to us too. Notice that when the pot went wrong, the potter didn’t throw away the clay, he reshaped it into something new. Maybe if you are frustrated, discouraged or repentant, you should ask God to reshape you, to show you a new way.
Jesus had great plans for Peter, but he made some big mistakes. When Jesus was arrested and tried, Peter was afraid and denied three times that he had anything to do with Jesus. After Jesus’ death some of the disciples went back to fishing. One morning they met Jesus on the shore. Later he had a private conversation with Peter:
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’
‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’ Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’
He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’ The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, Feed my sheep.’ (John 21:15-17)
Jesus gently restored and remolded Peter after his denial, to become the leader of the early church. We see his behaviour change from scared and confused to brave and bold.
Are you frustrated?
Are you discouraged?
Are you sorry for the way your life has gone?
Seek God for your kairos moment at the crossroads.
[adapted from a talk by Rhodri Walters at Hebron Hall]
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Find out more on http://www.annmariethomas.me.uk