For many years now, the church I serve as pastor emeritus ends its weekly worship service with all singing these hymn words–‘ 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.’ What better way to conclude a worship service!
Look to Jesus. He’s wonderful to see. Troubles of this world grow small and appear strangely dim when we focus on His glory and His grace. A benediction in song, week-by-week. However, not shared by those lamented in Psalm 54: 3– ‘For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves.’ Strangers, unwelcome visitors all. Not with a common faith in the Lord. People unconvinced and destructive. Will tear us down. Ruthless– willing to do almost anything to get their way. Robbers of life, joy and goodness. Literally, in the Hebrew– ‘who do not set God before them’. No turning their eyes on Jesus. No looking full in His wonderful face. How about us?
Stop looking all over the place; here, there and who-knows-where. Stay focused. Concentrate. We used to go camping with some of our children. I liked camping even though it didn’t seem like it at the time. It was hard. Our daughter kept crying that her backpack was too heavy, so I’d have to carry it part of the way. Setting up the tent, getting firewood, trying to ‘bean’ raccoons as they would steal my after-dinner pretzels! The drinking water had a rather bad effect on my system, which left me trying to find suitable burying areas not close to our camping site, getting there in the nick-of-time, if you know what I mean!
So special being out in the forest, alongside the Pacific Ocean. Loved it. Sort of. At night we’d tell stories, some better than others. We’d always play a little game called ‘I Spy’ where we’d concentrate on something that the others would try to guess. ‘I spy with my little eye…’ and off went the guessing.
Don’t be like the folks in Psalm 54: 3 who don’t pay any attention to God. They toss Him aside. Ignore Him. Make believe He doesn’t exist. No. Put Him front-and-center in your life. When your concentration flags, don’t worry. Shake yourself. Look straight ahead. Turn your eyes upon Jesus…look full in His wonderful face. You’ll notice that the things of this crazy world will grow dim and small in a strange and wonderful way when we see His glory and His grace. How’s your vision these days?
Prayer: Oh Lord, help us to look Your way, to follow in Your footsteps. In Jesus’ name. Amen.