Beth has written an encouraging post for us to read and reflect on:
A song that has come to be very precious to me over the last couple of months is the updated version of Helen Howarth Lemmel’s hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. I love singing songs written in response to the reality of life. The words often impact and resonate with my soul.
One day, in 1918, when Helen was aged 55, a missionary friend gave her a tract entitled Focused. It contained a statement that had a profound impact on her: 'So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.' The facts surrounding the specific details of why Helen wrote this song are not clear, although it is generally believed she wrote it following many heartaches, including adult blindness and the abandonment of her husband, who walked out on her when she lost her sight.
The updated version by Sovereign Grace music goes like this. Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in His wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace Turn your eyes to the hillside Where justice and mercy embraced There the Son of God gave His life for us And our measureless debt was erased Jesus, to You we lift our eyes Jesus, our glory and our prize We adore You, behold You, our Saviour ever true Oh Jesus, we turn our eyes to You Turn your eyes to the morning And see Christ the Lion awake What a glorious dawn, fear of death is gone For we carry His life in our veins Turn your eyes to the heavens Our King will return for His own Every knee will bow, every tongue will shout ‘All glory to Jesus alone!’
Why should we fix our eyes on Jesus every day?
Verse 1: Focus on Jesus’s face and see that He is full of Light, grace and glory. In Him we see things perfectly for 'The light of Christ is the brightness of God shining on the retina of the human soul' (John Piper). We are broken sinful people living in a broken cursed world. Jesus showed us the grace of God by entering our broken world and redeeming, restoring and saving. His grace changes everything. As we move through these verses see His glory shine and His grace abound.
Verse 2: Focus on Jesus’s death and see His saving grace there. The righteous, sinless Son of God gave up everything for you and for me. Why? Our sin leaves us in debt that we can’t repay. The debt is our very life. Jesus did not owe that debt, yet He freely offered His life and was killed to pay it. Jesus uniquely combines God’s justice – our judgment and condemnation for our sin, death, and mercy – and His love in taking our penalty through His death on the cross. Our debt is gone!
Verse 3: Focus on Jesus’s resurrection and see how God brings hope from tragedy, by conquering death. Jesus is alive and has defeated death and evil. His new life displays God’s satisfaction and approval with Jesus payment on our behalf. Jesus has overcome death and darkness. Let this thrill your heart and fill you with confidence and hope as you focus on God’s love and power in bringing true life for ever.
Verse 4: Focus on Jesus’s return and see His glory and know hope. Yes, Jesus is coming again, and we will see Him face to face in all His glory. This is great news full of hope! We can lift our eyes to Jesus in our deepest pain and suffering and know the pain will not last forever. One day everything will be renewed and changed as the broken world is fully redeemed. Decay will give way to abundant life and we will finally see Jesus in His full glory.
Life is full of circumstances and distresses that can take our focus. This song reminds us to stop, turn and focus on Jesus, the one who knows what it is to suffer in a broken world, the one who has defeated death and the one who is coming back. As we focus on Him the things of this earth grow dim as He gives us true perspective on life. In the light of Jesus’s glory and grace the things of this earth lose their intensity as His glory shines out.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12: 1).
Jonny recently encouraged us to sing, why not listen (and join in) to the new version of this song and praise our God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2tKVqZZiI4