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Today’s tune is a surprise, even to me. It’s been a tough week, and this old hymn, first published in 1918 by Helen Lemell, has been an anchor. I can remember singing it as a kid and being confused by the line “and the things of earth will grow strangely dim”. How could the things around me, the trees, my house, my toys, just fade? I knew it wasn’t by magic; I knew about miracles and Jesus’ power. Was it like drifting off to sleep?

As I’ve grown older, I have understood the deeper meaning. That when I take my eyes off Jesus and focus instead on the things the world values, I lose intimacy in my relationship with Christ. I become proud and arrogant, going my own way, being swayed by “fine-sounding arguments”. I get beaten up and overwhelmed. I lose sight of Who I am to follow and to Whom I belong. I become no longer who I was made to be, and to serve as I’ve been called to serve.

But if I focus on Jesus only, the opinions, the conspiracies, the craziness of the world will fade away. I can have lasting peace and joy. Don’t get the wrong impression. I’m not a naive, “airy-fairy, ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away” person. I am not living in fear. I am not afraid to speak up, in love. I hope I am wise enough to know when to shut up. I have a choice in Who and what I listen to, and I choose Jesus.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Gal. 6:14

Turn Your Eyes