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 Howarth Lemmel
In 1918 a missionary friend of Helen Howarth Lemmel gave her a tract that inspired this wonderful hymn. Now for decades this hymn has been a call for Christians to fix their gaze on our beautiful Savior, Jesus, and share in the strange experience of worldly things losing their value, right in front of our eyes.
Helen Howarth Lemmel recalls how this hymn came about: “Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.”
This hymn has stood the test of time, and gives us a timely message today in 2020 with all that we are enduring; “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face” This is an extremely challenging, yet liberating directive if we follow it. If we can fix our gaze upon Jesus Christ our Lord, what will happen? Well, the song tells us: “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” This means the applause of men, strangely loses it’s value, when we have our gaze fixed on Christ. This means the fear of man, strangely loses its terror, when we have our gaze fixed on Christ. This means the love of money, strangely disappears, when we fix our gaze upon Christ. This dying world, and all that it offers, strangely loses it’s value, when our eyes are fixed on the infinite worth of knowing Jesus. That is the essence of this beautiful song, nothing compares to Jesus.
God’s glory, and God’s grace, far outshine the things of this world, but how easy is it for us to get caught up in civilian pursuits? How easy is it for us to take our eyes off of the Son, and be captivated by the flashlights of this world? In our fallen nature, it is very easy, but thank God for His preservation of beautiful songs, that remind us that Christ is of more value than all earthly things combined.
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” — Hebrews 12:2