Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus: Why Our Restless Souls Need Hymns

Also, Suggestions on What and When to Sing

hymns song book

What do you do when the harsh waves of sin are close to drowning you in the sea of despair? How do you handle the alarm of anxiety that results in a restless soul? What do you do when you feel like your soul is carrying the weight of sin alone?

In the depths of our soul lies sin, an enemy determined to conquer us. Our souls are tormented by sin. Sin sings lustful lullabies of despair, rage, pride, and anxiety to our soul. What are we to do?

Ryan Griffith suggests we talk to our souls. Speaking biblical truths to the soul is a helpful practice, but I believe we need to sing to our souls. We ought to confront our souls with the melodic and robust truths found in hymns.

David’s Singing

You may think it is a ridiculous idea to sing to yourself. Don’t people get committed to mental health institutions for talking to themselves? Those are valid thoughts, but they do not take into account the Psalms. In Psalm 42, an often quoted psalm, David in verse 5 and 11 is singing to his soul. He asks, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, why are you in turmoil within me?” However, he doesn’t close the conversation there. He commands his soul: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

What about Psalm 103? In verse 1 David commands his soul to “Bless the Lord.” He sings to his soul to remember all God’s benefits (v2) and how he forgives all iniquity (v3). We need to sing to our souls, because our souls need it. They can refuse to be comforted (Psalm 77:2), downcast (Psalm 42:5), and even forgetful (Psalm 103:2). Beloved, we need to sing.

What and When To Sing?

When your soul is weary and troubled sing the words of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:”

“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.”

These words encourage our souls to look to Jesus, the one who can keep you from growing weary or fainthearted (Hebrew 12:2-3).

When anxiety causes you to have sleepless nights, sing your soul to sleep with “I Know The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow:”

“Like a ship that’s tossed and driven, battered by an angry sea
When the storms of life are raging, and their fury falls on me
I wonder what I have done, that makes this race so hard to run
Then I say to my soul, “Take courage, the Lord will make a way somehow.”

This hymn draws our soul’s attention to our way-making God (Isaiah 43:16-19). This reminds me of the old church saying “God can make a way out of no way.”

When you feel as though the winds of sin are about to cause you to shipwreck your faith, your soul needs to hear the words of Douglas Miller’s “My Soul Has Been Anchored:”

“But if the storms don’t cease,
and if the wind keeps on blowing, (in my life)
my soul has been anchored in the Lord.”

The lyrics bring to mind that Christ is our sure and steady anchor (Hebrews 6:19). The storms will cause turbulence, but Christ will keep us from drifting away.

When your soul feels like it is carrying the full weight of your sin, lift up your voice and sing “Jesus Paid It All:”

“And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat.”

Your soul needs to hear the gospel. Jesus bore the full weight of our sin and we are free. Remind your soul that Jesus died to save it and God’s wrath is completely satisfied.

Conclusion

Beloved, singing to your soul can take you up to Mount Zion to feast on the goodness of Jesus. Commit to adding a hymn to your devotional time. Dedicate time to memorize lyrics and hide them in your heart. Sing the sweet songs of Zion to ease your weary soul. May your testimony be similar to that of Mother Pollard’s: “My feets is tired, but my soul is rested.”


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Written by DeAron Washington

DeAron Washington is pursuing a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his family live in New Orleans where he is a provisional licensed counselor.

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