God of the Vulnerable
I’ve been pondering the reasons God has such a special place in His heart for children, and in particular children at risk. There’s plenty of verses about the fatherless and weak (Psalm 82:3), the power of simple childlike faith and praise (Matthew 18:2-6, Psalm 8:2), and Jesus’ famous words, “Let the children come to me.” (Mark 10:13-16).
As I sat and thought on these verses, I found myself praying. I realized my efforts and prayers were far too inadequate for the task of protecting and advocating for these children in the slums of Bangkok who face threats and challenges that go far beyond anything I ever faced as a child. That’s when I realized! These children have a heavenly high priest who knows exactly what they need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
This is more than just a nice verse to ponder and apply to this situation; the very story of Jesus shows that He Himself was a child-at-risk just as much, if not more so, than these children we work with in the slums. Think for a second on the story of Jesus’ childhood.
Born to a teenage mother and an adopted father, Jesus started his human life in extremely uncertain circumstances. In order to fulfill the economic demands of an oppressive empire, His parents were forced to leave their community and travel to Joseph’s hometown when His young mother was on the verge of giving birth. As a result, this descendant of kings was born in the lowly squalor of a barn. When Jesus was still quite young, His family was forced to seek asylum in a foreign country in order to escape the genocidal attacks of an insecure dictator.
It is strange to think that the King of kings began his life on earth as a child at risk - vulnerable to violence, oppression, and the dangers of poverty. But it gives me much hope to realize that the risen Christ who lives to intercede for us can sympathize with the needs of the children I’m growing to love here in the inner city of Bangkok (Hebrews 7:25).
Will you join us in prayer that God would protect these children from those who would seek to harm them, from the harmful emotional and developmental effects of living in such immoral times, and empower us at Friends of the City to be safe people who offer secure and transforming relationships to each one of the kids we meet.