Understanding Father

The Importance and the Blessing of an Understanding Father

Advent Series Part Three: Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)

Both my grandsons have been created in the express image of their fathers, which amounts to a temperamental salad bar of sensitivity, willfulness, and a worldview that sees all of life as a multiple-choice quiz–and all the answers are “None of the Above.” This shared understanding has given these young dads a distinct advantage in their fathering role: They work hard to understand their sons.

As compulsive rule-followers and people-pleasers, my husband and I both felt deeply our lack of understanding whenever we were up against a disciplinary challenge with our four sons. Consequently, there were times when we overreacted and, in hindsight, times when we completely missed the whole point!

By vivid contrast, our Heavenly Father understands his children perfectly. Psalm 119 contains no fewer than eight references to God as the ultimate Wellspring of understanding, and while Job’s buddies didn’t get much right in their counseling sessions beside the ash heap, both Zophar and Elihu described and had experienced God as one who is manifold and mighty in understanding.

The Understanding Father

Perhaps you struggle year-round with unfulfilled longings for an understanding father that went unmet in your childhood. Christmas may conjure up sad memories for you.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a father’s role in the family. Therefore, father wounds are deep, and Christianity isn’t a magic wand that automatically erases a painful past.

However, a relationship with Christ does provide a new beginning and a right understanding of fatherhood. The truth is that God did not look at his creation and then decide, “Ahhh, fatherhood! What a great metaphor for my compassionate care for these people I’ve created!”

The opposite is true. First, there was God the Father, the embodiment of Fatherhood. The earthly counterpart is merely a shadow, a pale adumbration of the Father-ness of God.

Tragically, sometimes fathers get it 100% wrong. But when fathers get it right, they embody and depict the compassionate care and the giving heart of our Heavenly Father.

The Son of God Is the Everlasting Father

Is it problematic that Isaiah 9:6 describes God the Son as the Everlasting Father? Let’s not get bogged down in Trinitarian theology, but here’s the unraveling of the seemingly tangled terminology:

Jesus’s identity as “Everlasting Father” in Isaiah 9:6 isn’t directed toward his role within the Godhead. Like Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father is a description of his actions and his character toward us.

The Everlasting Father has opened up eternity as a good and beautiful gift for those who trust in him.

Jesus’s compassionate care for us is also vividly depicted in the metaphor of the Good Shepherd. He shepherds us as a wise and understanding Father, and his willingness to “lay down his life for his sheep” makes him a Giver of good gifts–the gift that secures our future with him.

We have forever to invest in learning to love the One who shepherds, affirms, guides, and stays close to us. The Everlasting Father has opened up eternity as a good and beautiful gift for those who trust in him.

Holding you in the Light,

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a father in the family. Therefore, father wounds are deep, and Christianity isn’t a magic wand that automatically erases a painful past. We need the healing compassion of the Everlasting Father.

This is Part Three of a four-part series for Advent featuring Isaiah’s prophecy of a coming Messiah. If you missed parts one and two and want to catch up, click on Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God to find the corresponding devotional.

Join me next Sunday for Part Four where we remember that Jesus, the Prince of Peace is the Fountain of well-being and the Source of right relationships. And may you find that truth changes and enriches your experience of Jesus’s birthday celebration!

A Dose of Truth for Your Advent Season

This is your invitation to join me and my newsletter subscribers in memorizing and meditating on Isaiah 9:6 during the Advent season. Obviously, all you really need in order to do this is a Bible and the willingness to put in the work. However, if you’re interested in some help and encouragement, I’ve created a PDF for you that includes printable resources including:

  • The text of Isaiah 9:6 as pictured above
  • First letters of the verse to push you along in your memory work (Have you ever tried this method? It really helps me!) The first letter of each word triggers your brain to say the right word without actually giving you the word in print.
  • A Meditation Guide for each name of Jesus: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Each little card invites you to think about the Name in terms of who Jesus promises to be for you and what he wants to do in your life.

If this sounds helpful to you, get your copy by simply entering your email and then clicking on the button below…

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

12 thoughts on “The Importance and the Blessing of an Understanding Father”

  1. You make so many good points about the role of Father and father.
    My Dad got a ton right, but I still find what you said very meaningful: However, a relationship with Christ does provide a new beginning and a right understanding of fatherhood.


    1. Knowing that the notion, the metaphor, of fatherhood started with God is formative for me. There’s nothing done perfectly on this planet. Everything needs to be redeemed, but the shadow is a reassurance that the reality will SURELY follow!


  2. I am so grateful for a wise and loving earthly father who gave me a head start in understanding the wisdom and loving ways of our Everlasting Father. Dad’s own father died when he was only six, so Dad didn’t have an example to follow, except for God the Father himself. As a student of the Word, Dad learned his fathering skills from the Source.


  3. Thank you for diving deeper into the meaning of everlasting Father. Knowing that Jesus as the Everlasting Father is a description of His character and actions toward us creates a deeper love for Him.

    My own father was an amazing dad, husband, son, and friend. There is so much of him that I hope to carry on as a legacy with my sons and grand babies.


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