Done For Me

Two Bible verses almost seem to contradict one another. One says, “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2); the other, “Each one shall bear his own load” (Gal. 6:5). But the seeming conflict is only apparent, not real.

In practice we know there are certain responsibilities individuals face that cannot be relinquished to another. Yet perhaps we can assist and encourage the burden bearer, thus making the load lighter. A husband in the delivery room with his wife understands that. Only she could carry that little life for nine months, and only she can give birth. Yet her partner can support her, to render the birthing process more bearable.

The ultimate act of burden bearing is a supremely costly one. Sometimes in trying to help or rescue another individual, the person sacrifices his own life. When this is done not accidentally, but intentionally, we admire the deliverer as a hero. Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13).

Every day our police officers and fire fighters risk their lives for us. They deserve our sincere commendation. In time of war, many give their lives in the defense of freedom. Again, they ought to be highly honoured for doing so.

One day in the years following the First World War, William Gilbert Ovens (1870-1945) saw a wounded veteran limping past on the street and was impressed by the thought that, in a sense, the young man had taken that wound for him.

W. G. Ovens was a man with a single purpose in life. It was said of him “the consuming passion of his life was Jesus Christ–to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him, to share with others the joy he found in Him, to lead others to Him, and to draw still others nearer to Him.” And one observed, “There was no shadow of compromise with him. He had no time for half-heartedness or lukewarmness.”

“WGO,” as his friends called him, was involved for over thirty years in children’s ministry. He conducted programs for boys and girls in Northern Ireland, pointing multitudes of them to faith in the Saviour. He also authored books and pamphlets. But it was his leadership at prayer meetings that co-workers spoke of in after-years with warmth and gratitude.

He would seat himself at a little organ and take requests for choruses, interspersing these with comments and times of prayer. Participants testified to the powerful sense of God’s presence during those special occasions. A number of the songs they sang William Ovens had written himself.

One of these had its birth in the moments after that limping soldier passed by. The thought crossed Ovens’s mind, “He was wounded for me.” And instantly he drew a parallel to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Bible says was “wounded for our transgressions” (Isa. 53:5). The Lord Jesus Himself declared, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His live for the sheep” (Jn. 10:11). “By this we know love,” says John, “because He laid down His life for us” (I Jn. 3:16).

In doing this He became a peerless Burden Bearer. The good news is that “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3). He took the punishment we deserve upon Himself, so that we, through faith in His sufficient sacrifice, might be forgiven, and be saved eternally (Jn. 3:15).

With these thoughts in mind, W. G. Ovens wrote a little chorus that says, “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.” Later the chorus was expanded into a hymn. Gladys Watkin Roberts (1888-?) added four more stanzas that complete the picture of Jesus dying for me, risen for me, living for me, finally ending with, “O how I praise Him–He’s coming for me.”