When we were much younger, my sister and I shared a room. We had these white wooden bunk beds with matching pink patchwork bedding… I slept on the top and she slept on the bottom. Each night, before we would go to bed, my mom would come in to say goodnight and go through our bedtime routine (which was essentially a series of questions, haha.)
‘Did you get us clean water?’
‘Are mommy and daddy going out tonight?’
‘Can you sing?’
And then she’d sing for us. It would differ, but most nights she would sing the hymn ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.’
‘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.’
Many years later, my sister and I don’t share a room anymore. My parents don’t tuck us in anymore, we don’t have ‘bedtime routines’ anymore and my mom doesn’t sing for us anymore. But sometimes, the words of that hymn will come to me in the darkness, even if it’s not the darkness of the night.
Our world is a mess. Sometimes it seems that when we look around us, all we see is suffering and destruction and pain and brokenness. We are in the midst of a global pandemic. The problem of racism is as real now as ever… the fight is not over. Natural disasters are not uncommon- they cause unimaginable destruction, especially in less developed countries in the world. The political scene is messy and corrupt in so many ways. You only have to open a news website to see stories upon stories of conflict and corruption and chaos.
There is so much darkness in our world. So much bad, so much tension and conflict and suffering. And sometimes it feels like the dark overpowers the light… like there is far more bad in the world than there is good.
Sometimes, looking at the brokenness of our world feels oh-so overwhelming. It can be horrifying… intimidating even… to know that we live in a world that is so messed up by sin! These messy things cloud our vision. They so easily get in the way of us seeing Jesus… our gaze becomes hazy and we begin to lose focus on the One who really matters. We feel weary and troubled, our souls downcast.
But friends, when we feel like this… when we feel overcome with sorrow by the state of our world… there is something we can do. It’s just as the song says: we can turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face.
You see, nothing seems to matter so much when we turn our eyes up to the heavens and gaze lovingly into the face of our beautiful Saviour. Pain, suffering, loss, fear, grief, hurt, illness, tragedy, they’re all still real. They’re all still painful. But they’re only things of this world. When we shift our gaze to one of an eternal perspective and look into the eyes of the Maker of the moon, just for a moment, the things of this world fall away. They grow strangely dim as we gaze into the face of the light of the world- the light who overcame the darkness.
John 1:5 says, ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’. Jesus is the light… the light of the world… and His light shines in the darkness, amidst the brokenness and destruction. And the darkness has not hidden His light… Jesus is bigger than it, He is Lord over it and He is BRIGHTER than it!!
Friend, when our souls are weary and troubled we can look to our Saviour and our burdens suddenly don’t feel so heavy. When we feel overcome with sorrow from looking at the suffering around us, we can turn to Jesus and know these things are not forever. And when the things of earth feel as if they are just too much to bear, we can look to the light of the world and feel the weight of them lifted from us… even just a little bit.
Sometimes, when I struggle to get to sleep, I’ll hum the melody of that old hymn to myself. It brings me comfort, that tune, because it reminds me of those words. It reminds me of how, when I look into the eyes of Jesus Christ, nothing of the world seems so important anymore.
Sweet friend, it reminds me of how all the earthly things grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.