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.
The movement in this verse is from a child born and son given to a mature King who is described as wonderful, everlasting, peaceful, mighty—and who fulfills in our lives the functions of counselor, father, prince and God. What’s the point this verse makes? When we accept our weaknesses as they really are, that’s when we see that God is, and always has been, with us—it’s to us that a child is born and to us a son is given. To receive the gift of God with us, to receive the power of the promise to transform us, we must accept Him on His terms. Jesus comes to us in childlike form to connect with our helpless, vulnerable status before God so that God can get to work on fulfilling our promises. Just like Isaiah starts out prophesying a child and ends with a king—or starts with a promised son and ends with a promise-giving God—so God starts with us in our weaknesses and tells us how strong we will grow.
Throughout the Old Testament, God kept identifying for the Jews all their many weaknesses. To humans, when someone points out our weaknesses, we hide them and show our strengths to counter what others may think about us. But God, when He sees weakness, starts making plans. He hides His strength in the weakness, vulnerability, and helplessness of a Child and sends that Child toddling into the human condition to be a prophecy of what humanity will become, if we can only kneel down into our weakness and confess it to God.
What we have to come to grips with, regarding God, is that He is attracted to our weaknesses and He is turned off by our strengths. Or, to be more accurate, He is turned off by our shows of strength. He likes our strengths as much as our weaknesses, for He made both when He made us, but He is attracted to our weaknesses, and it’s on the grounds of our weakness that He wants to first connect, and it’s in our weakness that He wants to build our primary connection to Him. It’s easy to find God when you are struggling, when you are facing oppression, and when you aren’t sure what to do: be weak. He promises to be with you, there, for He nicknames Himself “Immanuel,” God with us in our weaknesses. Your weaknesses are your greatest vantage point for seeing God and connecting there with Him.
Since He is attracted to weaknesses, let’s be as attractive to Him as possible, for that’s when we are living in our best show of strength. Our strength is to be as weak as possible, so He can be strong for and in us.