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My turn

Wounded for me

By Patricia Hammond

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, KJV).

When I attended elementary school in western Pennsylvania in the 1950s, it was a different world. Our teachers read the Bible to us every morning, and we said the Lord’s Prayer together. Once a week, all the kids in the Coal Run Elementary School would walk down the road in a long line to the old Union Hall. There we attended something called “Released Time,” which consisted of religious education classes. The Protestants occupied the first floor of the building for Bible class, and the Catholics went downstairs for catechism.

We Protestants felt that we had really lucked out. We were taught by a wonderful local children’s evangelist named Gail. She had the most terrific flannelgraph stories with beautiful scenery and characters. She also had visualized children’s songs. We had so much more fun than the other kids.

Talk about politically incorrect: This woman told us that Jesus died for our sins and that we needed to be saved. She told us about the second coming of Christ and the Tribulation. She kept us on the edges of our seats.

Out of all the lovely stories and songs that Gail taught us, my very favorite was a song that said, “Wounded for me. Wounded for me; There on the cross, He was wounded for me.” I remember as a young girl being so impressed that someone would get hurt for me. Children do not relish the idea of getting hurt, especially at someone else’s hand.

But more than that … Jesus was punished, and He didn’t even do anything wrong. And He didn’t just get grounded or lose His allowance. He was beaten, He was humiliated, and He was killed. I couldn’t understand why anyone would do that for me.

I didn’t give my heart to the Lord for several more years, but the groundwork was truly laid in those “Released Time” classes. A few years later, at the ripe age of 12 going on 13, I gave my heart to Jesus in an old-fashioned Assemblies of God prayer meeting. Though it would be years before I was to understand the richness of Isaiah 53, in my young heart I understood that Jesus was wounded for me.

A few years later, I found my way to Central Bible College. There I took child evangelism courses. I think that deep inside I wanted to be like Gail and touch young lives the way she had touched mine. I wanted to be among the children’s workers who would be obedient to the Holy Spirit and tell the children the truth.

Gail had never married or had children of her own; but I know that there will be a great family reunion in heaven someday, and all her little jewels will be there. I can’t wait to thank her for all she taught me, and for telling me the truth.

Whenever I think of what Jesus did for me, I’m still a little girl. I’m still amazed that Jesus got hurt for me, that He was wounded for me.

If you are nursing wounds today, from your childhood or more recently, remember that Jesus was wounded for you. He was afflicted. He was bruised. He was grieved. How very much He loves you.

Patricia Hammond is a social worker and Sunday School teacher from Clinton, Mass.

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