Every new year brings the unknown, the unseen. It holds challenges, highs and lows, joy and sorrow, peace and unrest. When the clock strikes, we don’t know what is coming. We can’t see it.
At the stroke of midnight this past January 1, I felt a bit apprehensive about the year ahead. This would be 2020…even the number felt so “futuristic,” It begged the uneasy question, “what is in store?”
A couple of weeks into January, I was sitting in my ladies Bible study meeting when a friend commented that she wanted 2020 to be a “year of vision.” She was comparing the year, with 20/20 the measurement, used to describe perfect physical vision, or eyesight. She wanted to look for what God was doing in her life, and how she could show His love to others this year. She wanted to “see” clearly, with her eyes and her heart open to walk by faith. What she said stayed with me, and I have kept thinking about it watching the events of this year unfold.
It is often said that hindsight is 20/20. Looking back it seems we can see things so clearly. We can understand why certain events happen our lives. Or we can see things we could have done better, decisions we should have made differently. But looking ahead is blurry and hazy.
So here we are, 2020 is more than half over. No one (except God), could have seen coming the things the world has experienced in the past seven months!!
During this time, I have been thinking more and more about this being a “year of vision”. What does that really mean?
If we are desiring to “see” and understand more clearly, we have to think about one important word:
It really is an amazing gift how our eyes can see. Like the lens of a camera, they can adjust to focus on different objects. I love to see this on display in photographs. One might focus on a nearby object. In that photo, whatever is further in the background becomes cloudy and hard to see. Opposite from that, there can be an image where the background further away is clear and focused, and the object very close is the one that is blurry. It is impossible to focus clearly on both the close and the far at the same time.
This whole concept has reminded me of the choices we make every day in life on where to focus: our time, our attention, our thoughts, our energy, our emotions, and our hearts.
We really have just two choices.
On one hand, we can focus on the things of the world. We can dwell on our every day worries and problems, our plans and desires, or everything that is wrong in our fallen and sinful society. We can scroll social media, read the daily news, and let’s be honest…feel pretty confused, discouraged, or even depressed after a few minutes.
On the other hand, we can fix our eyes above, on what is eternal and unchanging. We can meditate on the Word of God, and seek to discover His plan for our lives, and for His glory. We can read the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and hear the message of hope that encourages, uplifts, and fills our hearts with peace. We can share that hope with others who have not yet found it.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:18
If you have a few minutes each day to spend reading, which will you choose? Social media? Or the Bible? Try them both and see which one leaves you feeling empty and discouraged, and which one leaves you hopeful and peaceful…
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
Back in April, I wrote about a hymn that was encouraging my heart at the time, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” https://thankfulmommy.com/2020/04/06/great-is-thy-faithfulness/
Lately, there is another beloved old song that keeps running through my head. It is called “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”
I found out from Wikipedia that this song was written in 1922 by a woman named Helen Howarth Lemmel. Another title for the song had been, “The Heavenly Vision.” I also learned that the song was inspired by a tract appropriately named “Focused” written by a missionary named Lilas Trotter.
Here are the beautiful lyrics to this hymn.
- O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s 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.
- Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
- His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
My favorite line of this songs is at the end of the refrain, “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” These words just make me want to close my eyes and breathe a big sigh of relief.
How can the things we face every day become dim?? An unbelieving world could not understand how this kind of peace is possible. It does seem strange that we could somehow just put off the worries of the day, and barely even notice them, like the blurry background of a photo. They bombard us; they are thrown in our face day by day, minute by minute. And yet, when we turn our eyes upon Jesus, when we focus on “the light of His glory and grace,” all else fades away into the distance, because His light is so radiant, so glorious, what else is there to even notice??
What do you see today? Where are you focused? In your life? In your heart? Are your eyes fixed on the temporary things of this world, or on eternity?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
My friends, I pray you and I will have a heavenly vision today. May we fix our eyes on what is eternal and not just what is temporary. Let us turn our eyes upon Jesus, that He alone may grant us perfect, 2020 vision.