by Kristin Wong

We sang “Your Grace Is Enough” (by Matt Maher) in church. The second verse sings to God that “You use the weak to lead the strong.” The weak who sprang into my mind as I sang were vulnerable, fatherless children. Do these weak children really lead us—the “strong”—who live comfortably, surrounded by our homes and cars and computers and choices of what we want to eat each day?

The song brought me back to afternoons in Vietnamese orphanages, playing with small boys and girls who were eager for attention and love. They touched my heart and will not let it go. I see their faces when I sing on Sunday mornings.

I also think of all I have learned through my two sons, through their adoption stories, and their questions, their vulnerabilities, their ups and downs. My boys, and other orphans, have led me into impassioned prayer. They have given me glimpses of the compassion of Jesus and the righteous, indignant justice of the Father.

Most anyone who has adopted, foster parented, visited orphanages, or cared for vulnerable children in other ways will admit to having been led by “weak” children. If we let them, these children will change our lives forever.

“God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). Who is more lowly and despised than orphans? These forgotten, left-behind children are a window through which we can see God’s wondrous glory and salvation.

The strong systems of the world bulldoze over orphans. Vulnerable children represent the opposite of man-centered empires. They reveal to us the kingdom of God that turns our strength-exalting priorities upside down, and they remind us of the topsy-turvy gospel that raises valleys and levels mountains. Orphans seem to have no power. But Jesus quietly insists that we regard them. When we do, we remember the weak wisdom of the cross. The kingdom to which we belong is not built by the strongest and most brilliant among human cultures, but by the power of Christ, who died as a seemingly weak, lowly, and despised man.

These orphans lead us right to Jesus, our Captain and King, who became weak so that we might become rich.

Indeed, You use the weak to lead the strong. Great is Your faithfulness!