It has been said that there is no greater education than matriculating through the ‘University of Hard Knocks’. But nobody welcomes suffering or pain – whether physical, mental, emotional, or psychological – with open arms. We try to avoid it if we can. However, whether by accident or inevitability, when we are in the midst of suffering, we tend to hide our grief and pain from our loved ones so that they do not see us cry.
There is, however, One whose wounds and suffering were displayed publicly, as His agony on the cross was witnessed by those who loved Him as well as those who did not. Our Lord Jesus Christ accepted the publicity of His suffering as part of His submission to His Father’s will. All through His life, Jesus reflected God’s immense love for His people by the mercy and kindness He showed them, even to the end.
As I pondered on the image of Jesus on the cross, I asked, “Why? Why, You, Lord? What did You do to deserve such a cruel death?” Deep in my heart, I knew it was my place on the cross that Jesus took. It was my suffering that He bore. It was my cross that He carried.
In this season of Lent, an appropriate hymn to sing and to reflect on is William G. Ovens’ ‘Wounded For Me’. Ovens wrote the first stanza when, after the First World War, he saw a wounded veteran limping past him on the street, and thought: “He was wounded for me.” Stanzas 2 to 5 were written by Gladys W. Roberts.
The five stanzas of this thoughtful hymn cover the whole story of redemption, from the Saviour’s suffering to His Second Coming. It is not enough simply to know about Christ’s suffering and death; we must personally appropriate this for our own lives. It was for me that Christ was wounded (stanza 1), died (2), rose (3), lives (4), and will soon be coming for me (5).
These actions depict the significant points of theology related to God’s redemptive work. Christ’s suffering and death was substitutionary; He died as our substitute under the wrath of God and bore the penalty of sin for us. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV)
Let us allow the Holy Spirit to touch our hearts, so that having experienced His redemptive work in our lives, we may humbly, lovingly, and thoughtfully ‘follow in our Lord’s footsteps’, and seek to restore others.
1 ‘Wounded For Me’. Available from: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/w/o/u/wounded4.htm (accessed 12 Jan 2018)
2 Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, Mich: Kregel Publications, 1990), 104.
Wounded for Me (The Cyber Hymnal, #7640)
- Wounded for me, wounded for me,
There on the cross He was wounded for me;
Gone my transgressions, and now I am free,
All because Jesus was wounded for me.Dying for me, dying for me,
- There on the cross He was dying for me;
Now in His death my redemption I see,
All because Jesus was dying for me.
- Risen for me, risen for me,
Up from the grave He has risen for me;
Now evermore from death’s sting I am free,
All because Jesus has risen for me.
- Living for me, living for me,
Up in the skies He is living for me;
Daily He’s pleading and praying for me,
All because Jesus is living for me.
- Coming for me, coming for me,
One day to earth He is coming for me;
Then with what joy His dear face I shall see,
O how I praise Him — He’s coming for me!
Words: William G. Ovens (1869-1945) & Gladys W. Roberts (1888-1983), stanzas 2-5
Music: William G. J. Ovens
Dr Yeo Teck Beng –
is a member of Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church.
Picture by Photosebia/Bigstock.com