I have never run, nor do I want to run a marathon. But from hearing and observing the experiences of friends and family who have, there are blisters, aching muscles, and exhaustion to endure along the way if one is to make it to the end. No wonder they need us and other spectators to cheer them from the sidelines.
A life of faith can be compared to running a marathon and in Hebrews 12:1, we are told to run the race with perseverance. And when we feel like life and faith are an uphill struggle, God is always there to give us hope and cheer us on.
Christmas, in particular, is the time when we can know God’s encouragement and find confidence.
When Isaiah spoke these words of cheer: “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress” (Isaiah 9:1), there were dark days ahead for God’s people. They were starting a marathon of disasters in suffering invasion and being taken into exile. Sometimes our circumstances can feel like we face something as bad.
But, the future birth of Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, would give them hope.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… And he will be called, Wonderful Counselor…Isaiah 9:6
Although God’s people were no longer in exile, Jesus was born into a world where people of faith had been waiting and waiting—they were still running their marathon—for God to fulfill his promise to be with them again.
We too, live in the darkness of a broken, hurting world that is battling with people and nature. In our personal struggles, it can be long and arduous seemingly without an end. Yet, we too have Jesus who is our wonderful counselor.
JESUS OUR Wonderful Counselor
Counselor is not a word you and I use every day, unless of course you are a king or queen, president or prime minister who is surrounded by advisors.
However, when we think of needing a mentor, a guide, a confidant for life, then we can begin to understand who Jesus is to us.
Here’s the way I come to understand Jesus as our Wonderful Counselor:
An adviser on our ways
To those who chose not to follow him, or who defied him, Jesus warned them of their ways. And so he counseled and advised them on their thoughts and words.
However, before we think of people we know who openly resist faith, or use Jesus’ name as a profanity, let’s remember we only hear their words and see their actions. Jesus, however, knows what is going on in their hearts.
Let’s pray that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, will challenge not only other people of their thoughts, but us too.
Jesus did not come to condemn you in your ways, but to save you from them.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
An adviser of God’s ways
To those who came to Jesus and cried out to him for help, Jesus showed compassion and used miraculous powers to save them.
Jesus never turned away a person who asked to be rescued. Instead, he turned around each life in just the ways each of them needed.
Jesus changed lives in amazing, miraculous, and wonderful ways. He showed the wonderful compassion and enormous and all-embracing love of God.
As Jesus changed lives, he also gave advice:
“Go in peace.”
“Neither do I condemn you.”
“Your sins are forgiven.”
“Your faith has saved you.”
“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.”
Jesus gives you the same advice when he saves and answers your cries for help.
An adviser who says knowing him, jesus, is wonderful
To those who faithfully followed him, Jesus taught that today was a time to celebrate. For those who were close to him, Jesus confirmed that his presence brought peace that was far greater than any fear or storm they faced. For his disciples, Jesus taught the joy of following his ways instead of observing strict religious rules and regulations.
And so it is the same for you. Jesus wants you to know the peace he gives and embrace the delight of experiencing him.
Wonderful may be an ordinary everyday word but Jesus makes the word extraordinary.
My prayer is that you will be filled with the wonder of Jesus this Christmas.