Jesus, Our Wonderful Counselor

Jesus, Our Wonderful Counselor

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor …”  Isaiah 9:6

I reflected on the names of Jesus in this Isaiah passage over the Christmas season, but I didn’t get past the first description of Jesus as Wonderful Counselor.This one absorbed all my thoughts.

How interesting and significant that this title for Jesus is the first one listed. It struck me these last weeks how much Jesus stands ready–stands near–to counsel us, guide us, teach us, give us wisdom that is beyond any we could find on our own or could receive from any person we might consult.

Being  a reader and an all-around word  person, I have always relied on what can be called bibliotherapy, learning and help from books. When I’m curious or confounded about something I often turn to a book for enlightenment. I’ve gained so much over the years through reading. So much wisdom, so much understanding, so much discipling, really, through the written words of writers, pastors, theologians, doctors, journalists, all sorts of followers of Jesus and other wise people of the world.

Apart from books, though, I’ve relied a lot on the people in my life for help when I didn’t know which way to turn. In fact, my first inclination when I’m just not sure about how to handle something troubling is often to contact a close friend. Getting outside perspective and wisdom from another source often feels essential when the burden is heavy and my thoughts are roiling.

I remember sitting at a lunch table with Richard Foster and Tom Oden during an intensive editorial meeting in the mountains some years back. My church was dying at the time. I was broken inside and full of questions that I longed to pose to these spiritual giants. “What does it take to build a church? Why would lovers of Jesus fail when they’d done things right? How can relational issues keep from tearing a body apart?” At the time, my cries were so deep and raw that I couldn’t form them into words for these men, who surely would have entered the pain and offered caring wisdom.

Another time, my disabled sister had been assaulted and our family became immersed in an unthinkable period of court hearings and soul-searching about why and how, prevention and healing and protection. Most difficult for me was my response to the perpetrator. Could I forgive? What could I say? How could I feel toward and view this person? No one in my life had the advice I needed, though I was desperate for answers.

Many other instances come to mind. Tough questions. Important situations that needed complex answers. You have had these situations yourself, readers. I know you’ve been there, too. At these times and others in my life, the answers were not to be found in a person. They weren’t to be found in a book. Only Jesus could guide me. Only he could shed his light on my situation and take me, step by step, day by day, to the answers I needed. Answers that fit my situation uniquely and rightly for just that time.

As we begin 2014, and as I consider the questions that sit on the “In Box” of my spirit this season of my life, I’m moved in a big way by Isaiah’s promise. He will be called … by me in my life … Wonderful Counselor. For you, too, friend. Ask for his help. Give him your questions. Rest, knowing he will provide the wisdom you need and the way out of the darkness of your confusion.

Yes, just a few verses earlier in Isaiah we celebrate these words:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. ~ Isaiah 9:2

May you enter 2014 side-by-side with Jesus, turning first to him with all that is your life.

Have you experienced Jesus as your Wonderful Counselor? What have you learned when you’ve turned to him in this way?

You may also appreciate these posts:

Do You Know Jesus?
Jesus the People Person
Jesus, Friend of Sinners

[Thank you to Jhong Dizon/Flickr for the use of your photo!]

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