The eyes are the windows to the soul. Do you believe it? I do. I remember the first wonderful eye contact with my children, the bonding, the joy, the somehow instantly knowing this little person. My focus was entirely on the baby. At that moment, nothing else existed. I remember the last eye contact with my father. We spoke no words but communicated volumes. I know other people were in the room, and activity just a few feet away, but I saw nothing except my father. Lilias Trotter and Helen Lemmel both understood the importance of where we place our focus in life, and what they shared with us has become one of the great songs of the faith.
Lilias Trotter (1853-1923) was a talented artist with a passion for missions. After prayer and soul-searching, she left her successful art career and served God in the mission field of Algeria for the next 38 years. She wrote several books and tracts. The following is an excerpt from her tract, Which Passion Will Prevail?
“Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen harmless worlds at once — art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the good hiding the best. It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His Glory.
Turn your soul’s vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him.”
Helen H. Lemmel (1863-1961) was a gifted musician, concert soloist, music teacher at the Moody Bible Institute, and music critic for the Seattle Post. As she tells the story, in 1918, a friend gave her a copy of the tract written by Lilias Trotter. The words made a deep impression on her and she could not get them out of her mind. She describes the experience this way:
“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.”
She called the song “The Heavenly Vision” and first used it with a ladies choral group she directed as a regular feature in the Billy Sunday evangelical meetings.
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a 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.
We communicate with God through the eyes of our heart. Slow down. Focus. Look and really see what God is showing you this day.