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, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

The people living in Jerusalem were living under the threat of an Assyrian attack. They needed to learn to trust God rather than rely on other nations to repel the attack. Yet God’s response wasn’t to become a bigger bully than the Assyrians but to promise a child, Jesus.

This wasn’t a temporary solution but one with implications for the future of Israel and the whole world. We look for quick solutions to immediate problems but God looks beyond symptoms to solutions which will change people’s hearts and teach them to trust him.

Moreover, God is so powerful he only has to send a child—a child solves the world’s problems not the strength and power of a military leader. This is one of the many paradoxes of the Christian life. We gain through means which are opposite to what we expect.

Many historical leaders became dictators by trying to be god-like, ruling with power and ruthlessness. Yet to truly become God-like means to be humble. Jesus “is gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). He “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) and Jesus is the “exact representation” of God’s being (Hebrews 1:3).

This has repercussions for us today. We don’t have to strive to win through our cleverness, our strength or power, rather we trust God and his ability to find solutions in the unexpected power of humility.

A humble attitude towards God and others opens the way for surprising solutions.