Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus…
let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
It is amazing to me how much more depth something has when you know the back story, the meaning behind it or the reason it came to be. I used to think that most hymns were just stuffy old songs that repeated the same tune over and over again. I really didn’t enjoy singing them and I let the repetitive melody get in the way of the truth of the words. I didn’t really grow up with hymns and didn’t sing them very often. When Aaron and I got married we started going to a Presbyterian church, DPC in Denton. Most of the hymns we sang we had rewritten melodies. I began to look at the words and see some meaning behind them and understand the depth to which the hymns went. I am also married to a man that LOVES hymns… He owns several (like in the teens) hymnals and he still wants more of them. He is wonderful at rewriting the music to them which brings to them a fresh sound. Most hymn texts are so full of truth and meat… You could sing the same one over and over and still get new things from it.
Just recently Aaron got a book on amazon that is called “Then Sings My Soul” it is full of many different hymns and it tells their back story and who they were written by. I can honestly say that I am truly amazed by hymns and will never look at them in the same way. I also will not judge them by the music that goes with them. God’s truth is being spoken through these hymn authors and most hymns have more depth in the first line then hundreds of “new” Christian songs being written today.
I think a lot of us get caught up in how a song sounds or how it flows or if the congregation will like the bridge or not. We enjoy singing the same line over and over again until we get that “feeling” we want. We are looking for songs that promise something or that talk about “us” what we need,and want… The point of worship is glorifying God. We are telling God how much we love him, how beautiful he is and giving him that glory. We don’t do this because of what he does for us but because of who he is. He is our God, the magnificent and glorious God.
The woman that wrote this specific hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, paints a beautiful picture of worship and what it means. Helen Howarth Lemmel was born in England. She studied vocal music and married a rich European. Helen’s husband left her because she went blind. She was alone and unable to write down her music. God continued to use her even through her pain and loneliness. She wrote 500 hymns in her lifetime. She had a dear friend that would go and help her every time she had words or music in her head and write them down for her. She kept a small keyboard by her bed so that she could compose whenever she needed to. At age 55, Helen heard a statement that deeply impressed her: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of this earth will acquire a strange new dimness.”
I am inspired by her ability to push on and turn her eyes upon Jesus and grateful for her willingness to share the gift of words and song that God gave her. Here is the first verse and chorus of her hymn… Look up the rest of it…. Absolutely beautiful!
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.
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.
– Helen Lemmel
This day we must turn our eyes to Jesus and let everything else grow dim so that we can see God in all of his fullness, so that we can glorify him for who he is. Enjoy this day that he has made and be thankful for all that he has given you.