Creative Arts Advent Devotional: Week 1, Day 3

Wednesday, December 6, 2017: 

and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Isaiah 9: 6c 

As an extrovert, I love talk therapy. Processing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences with an objective individual has been a formative part of my life for years now. Even when nothing particularly stressful or difficult was happening, the act of sitting on a couch and talking to a professional listener has made a big difference in my life. They have helped me realize how I feel, develop courage to overcome hurdles in my path, and (perhaps most importantly) they have helped me turn the difficult times into growth opportunities. 

I never thought much about Jesus being a described as a Wonderful Counselor until a pastor pointed it out to me one Christmas. It’s one of those scriptures you hear read and sung every year, without thinking too deeply about the complexities of its meaning.

But this name, Wonderful Counselor, assigned to the proclaimed Messiah in Isaiah—is one of my new favorite images.

Every counselor has a different style—there are those who make an Olympic sport out of the awkward silences (and leave you to sit uncomfortably with your own thoughts!) There are those who offer wisdom that is so complex and spot-on you spend years unraveling it. There are those who offer wake-up calls and tough love. They are trained to offer you the care you need in a particular moment. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes it takes a few therapists to find the right fit.

If He’s a Wonderful Counselor then, Jesus knows exactly what kind of counsel you need, when. He knows when to listen, when to challenge and urge you towards action, and when to simply sit with you in your sorrow. There are examples of him doing all these things with men and women throughout the Gospels. He is THE perfect professional listener; there to guide you, help you grow, and to become who God created you to be. Do you know you have that kind of access to God? 

Prayer: Wonderful Counselor, thank you for always knowing what I need. Help me to listen for and trust your counsel, even when it is difficult to hear. Bless me that I might listen to others with your patience, wisdom, and boldness. In your name I pray, Amen. 

Creative Call-to-Action: Find a quiet and solitary spot to sit where no one will hear or bother you. (The car works great!) Speak (out-loud) to Jesus, seeking his counsel. Ask whatever questions you may have. Be vulnerable. If it feels easier to journal your thoughts, that’s fine too. Pause and listen prayerfully for a response from your Wonderful Counselor.
—Merideth Hite Estevez