Helen Howarth Lemmel was inspired to write the hymn ‘Turn your eyes on Jesus after reading a book by Lilias Trotter entitled ‘Focused’. In this book Lilias writes ‘Turn full 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.’ Lilias was a talented artist who Ruskin admired. He contented that she couldn’t be a famous artist, for which she had the talent, and also follow her Christian work. After much prayer Lilias chose God and went to Algiers as a protestant missionary. Her work among the downtrodden woman of that country still has its effect today.
She could not have known that the words in her book ‘Focussed’ would be turned into a hymn which is so well-known today. It was used as the theme-song of the Keswick Convention in the Lake District in 1924. In an age where life is demanding and complex with many demands on our lives, we need the words more than ever ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus.’