For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
God’s answer to weakness is to send us a Promised Son, dressed up in the powerlessness of a child. God’s answer to weakness is to send more weakness. Thanks God?
Yes! There is a place of gratitude for us, even when we don’t get what He is up to. How does a child help us? How does a weak, powerless, messy, noisy, needy child help us in our weakness? How is that the answer to our troubles? And why would God put government on the shoulders of such a Child? What’s He saying and doing?
This Child, this Immanuel, is God-present-with-us-in-weakness. His answer to our weakness is two-fold: He will step into them by becoming just like us and inviting us to be as weak and powerless as we can be with Him. And secondly, He invites us to admit to our vulnerability, to tell the truth about our powerlessness, to confess to the mess we make and the noise we sound out. He asks us to bring to Him all our needs, with all our neediness, and to do so with the expectation that His promise will satisfy.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”—what we can draw from that declaration is simple: for us to receive the promised Son, we must become as weak as He is; we must become as vulnerable as Christ who came as a vulnerable child. It’s in our vulnerability and weakness, and truly our confessing to them as such, that something changes. That’s when we enact the grace that rests on our weakness, that’s when the promise kicks into gear and starts to work on our behalf.
Even as God meets us and nicknames us by our weaknesses, He also reveals the end-result of His promises by telling us what our future names will be—just like He does here in telling Isaiah about Immanuel, His Messiah. For upon that weak Child, God sets government, and it is upon that Child that He confers names that promise to fashion that Child into a Son: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”