“… and his name shall be called…Everlasting Father…”
December 17, 2012 § 3 Comments
“And they lived happily ever after.”
It’s amazing. No matter how cynical we become as a culture, no matter how jaded, we still flock to movies with happy endings. Some would call it wishful thinking, a simple and childish form of escapism that the more realistic among us (known by the rest as “pessimists”) know better than to embrace.
The Bible has another answer: “[God]…has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In other words, even though man is finite and cannot search out the workings of the infinite God who made him, God has put a longing and desire for eternity itself in man’s own heart—so that he knows, ultimately, that this world is not his ultimate happiness. It was Augustine who said that God has made us for himself, and so our hearts our restless until they rest in him.
It is no surprise, then, that the promise of the child to be born is the promise an eternal relationship with the one, true Father. The Child and the Father are one, as Jesus himself later told his disciples (John 10:29, 30); it is why he was able to say to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:9, 11).
It is one thing to say that the Mighty God is our Savior. It is quite another to say that this Mighty God is our Father—and that forever!” It is in this Name that Isaiah proclaims that the power and joy of God come together in the child born to us. To know that the Mighty God is our Everlasting Father is to begin to know the joy that God promises us is everlasting—it is forever! This joy is not the selfish fulfillment of unending personal happiness but the fulfilling, eternal experience of the only relationship that can truly satisfy us: “…in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). The greatest joy of eternity is unending fellowship with our Savior God.
The good news is that we do not have to wait to the end to begin to know this everlasting joy of the Father. Jesus himself said that it is a reality for all who now know him by faith” “…this is eternal life…[to] know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:1).
Perhaps we have so little joy because we have not fully realized we are sons and daughters of the Everlasting Father. Perhaps we have been robbed of our joy because we have believed the lie that he is like the weak fathers we have known in this world—especially when we are those fathers. Perhaps joy has eluded us because we have forgotten “what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).