During this Advent season we’re preparing our hearts each day for the upcoming Sunday and ultimately, Christmas Day. The scripture for this series is Isaiah 9:6, and the theme of this week is Jesus as Everlasting Father. Good or bad, we all have an understanding of a father, which makes this week’s sermon from Isaiah 9:6 particularly interesting. While the concept of Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace all seem quite lofty, there is a familiarity to the name father. From our own experience we may associate a loving, caring man with this word, or an absent or abusive jerk. Maybe your father is reserved, cold and unloving, perhaps he was warm and kind while unreliable. No matter the case, we’ve all experienced or heard the sin of our fathers. For those of us who are fathers, we have a new understanding and association with this role. From my own experience as a father God’s love for me has become more tangible as I consider both the sacrifice the Father made to send His Son to die on the cross as well as the love He must have in order to reveal himself as “Everlasting Father”. The role of counselor, God and prince can all be achieved from a distance, while a true father is close to his sons and daughters. He walks with them in every step, finding great joy in their happiness and experiencing deep sorrow when they suffer. In the powerful words of Stuart Townend, “How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.” Indeed.
In becoming a father I’ve developed a strong, almost primal sense of security for our children. Despite sleeping through apocalyptic thunderstorms, if I hear a sound that could be someone coming into our house I jump out of bed and run for the front of the house, simultaneously loathing and pitying the intruder who is about to be attacked by a crazy man. Mind you, the only one to pity is our dog Margot, who is utterly confused as to why her owner is running through the hall in the middle of the night, muttering “Oh no you don’t”. My immediate reaction stems from an immeasurable love for our girls; I would do anything to protect them. This isn’t heroism, it’s simply love. I didn’t choose this love, but it entered my heart the minute I found out Christin was pregnant with our first daughter. This same love welled up inside in October, when my wife Christin shared the news that she was pregnant with our third child.
This is why the past week has been the most difficult of my life. During a routine ultrasound last week, our doctor said “The baby’s heart has stopped.” The shock and grief that accompanied this news was overwhelming and unceasing. In the midst of this pain I feel helpless as a father. There was nothing I could do to help my child. The love that produces the protective nature also brings deep sorrow from this loss.
I’m reminded that it’s impossible to protect my children from all harm, no matter how much I love them. This experience has left me humbled but not hopeless, and I’m looking forward to hearing @PastorTyler preach on Jesus as Everlasting Father. Before studying Isaiah’s passage, I thought this perhaps was a reference to the triune nature of God, stating that He and the Father are one. It’s more than an allusion, as Jesus supersedes the fatherhood of Adam. We are given new life, and in Jesus “you are all sons of God, through faith” (Gal. 3:26). Through His death and resurrection, Jesus stands over us as Father (Heb. 2:13). Unlike an earthly Father, Jesus is perfect in every way, all-powerful and unchallenged as King. Through Him we are children of God, and even death has no power over us (Romans 8:15-16). As we loudly proclaimed in worship through song last Sunday at the West campus of Vintage21 Church, “The man Jesus Christ put death in his grave.” The last word is not my helplessness as a father or this death, but the everlasting fatherhood of Jesus Christ. Therefore my love for our children compels me to pray this would be true for them:
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
(John 1:12-13 ESV)
What about you? Is the idea of Jesus as Everlasting Father comforting or confusing? Any questions you’re hoping @PastorTyler will address with this topic?
To the parents, do you find more comfort in your own abilities or the power of God? Does that change depending on the circumstance?
Many of us at Vintage21 Church have experienced the sorrow of a miscarriage. In going through this I’m reminded of the importance of a church family, both at large and through Community Groups. If you are experiencing this tragedy or another, please let us walk with you in this. Email me at matt at vintage21.com.