12 Jan How the chaos in Syria has created the opportune moment.

Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment. Today, Syria is caught in chaos, but it’s also a kairos moment. Let me explain.

To fully understand why this is the opportune moment, it helps to understand how the chaos has affected lives.

Young Syrian men have limited options. If they stay in the country they are conscripted into the army and forced to fight their brothers and their neighbors. So many have chosen to flee the country, either alone or with their families.

Yesterday, we met Ahmed, a young man in pursuit of hope and the truth. He had journeyed through Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon before coming to Turkey, all in the last year. Along his journey he is trying to study computer science, but has found himself with limited options and is now a waiter.

Some of these young men follow Jesus.  When one young man who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood became a Christian, his bible was found.  His family threatened to behead him so he was forced to flee to Turkey. He is one of many who have similarly “self-refuged” themselves because of the gospel.

Along with young men, there are also entire families uprooting themselves to protect their sons from the conflict. The future of a whole society, which is still culturally male-dominated, lacks the stable and society-contributing men and families it needs to move into the future.  Those who remain in the country are young men from less stable and potentially uneducated families, vulnerable to be more easily radicalized.

Those fleeing often do not register in their arrival countries since they may face repercussions from those who perceive them as traitors should they return to an Assad-led regime (this is especially true of the young men).  Once again, this only creates more instability for them as well as for the host countries, lessening their ability to effectively integrate into their new homes.

Amidst the chaos there is hope.  This is a kairos moment in the region. We’ve learned over time, that chaos (whether it’s because of earthquakes, politics, war or economy) opens the possibility for kairos moments (God moving all of a sudden in unprecedented ways) for a people. In this deeply destabilizing time, where families tied to a particular land and belief system for hundreds of years, are forcibly uprooted, it creates an opening for them to perceive themselves differently.  An opportunity arises for them to see themselves as “God’s people”.

The Syrians are experiencing a Kairos moment. Two years from now the political landscape and circumstances will have changed and so will the opportunity to reach them during this time of openness when they are experiencing instability.  In two years they will be integrated into their new surroundings and that identity-shaking open period will have passed.

Now is the time for harvesters to be sent to seize the opportunity and respond to this Kairos moment in history.

Now is the time when “Sauls” are becoming “Pauls,” in Syria.

Now is the time for the church to send Barnabas’ to train and encourage them.

Because this is a Kairos moment.

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