"break forth in song,
rejoice and sing!"
I had a fun experience today, thinking about this post. And I learned a little something new.
You see, I had a song in my head this morning ~ well, a portion of a song. It 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"
I have long loved this sweet chorus, partially because of the simplicity of the words, and the truth in them; and partially because I love the tune. It's fun to sing. I've heard it at church, and on the radio, tacked onto or interspersed between verses of more contemporary songs. It seems to complement so many other songs; there's just something so delightfully understated about it.
And I had a thought I wanted to share with you about this song, which I'll do in a minute. But I decided to do a little research, to find out who wrote the song, and lo and behold, there's a whole bunch more song than I ever knew! Those words I love are just the chorus of a song called "The Heavenly Vision," written by Helen Howarth Lemmel in 1922. Don't you just love, by the way, how many of the old hymns were written by women? The verses are these:
"O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Thro' death into life everlasting
He pass'd, and we follow Him there
Over us sin hath no more dominion
For more than conquer'rs we are!
His word shall not fail you ~ He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell."
So that's the new thing I learned today. And now so have you. And if you knew already, why didn't you tell me?
Now here's the point I wanted to make originally, going back to that glorious chorus. The message in those words is to keep your eyes on Him ~ well, more than that: to bring your eyes back to Him, when they've wandered or been distracted. It's about focus, and the promise inherent in that devotion, namely, the things of earth will fade when He is at the center of our thoughts.
For a long time those words were a balm to me, in times of stress or anxiety. They were a reminder to not focus on my struggle or trial, but on His love and salvation, and His plan for me. But at some point I came to the realization that my eyes should be on Him all the time, not just when I'm worried or scared. I realized that it's something I should strive to achieve when I study the Bible, when I pray, when I sing, when I interact with people, etc.
I know, with something like praying, you'd think my mind would be automatically be on Him, but it can so easily be about me, as soon as I'm finished saying, "Good morning, Lord." Keeping my eyes on Him has to be a frequent, deliberate decision, but it's well worth it. Y'know, in light of His glory and grace.
~ "my eyes are upon You,
O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge" ~