Sometimes our hearts can be challenged by the stories of others who have overcome great obstacles in life. Today, more than one hundred years after she was born, the life of Fanny Crosby continues to challenge us to hope that through God’s mercy and grace our lives might speak to others, in spite of the trials God allows. The secret to her success might lie in one of her more famous hymns:
Jesus, keep me near the cross, there a precious fountain;
Free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross be my glory ever,
Till my ransomed soul shall find rest beyond the river.
2 Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me;
There the Bright and Morning Star shed His beams around me. [Refrain]
3 Near the cross! O lamb of God, bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day with its shadow o’er me. [Refrain]
Fanny Crosby, who was blind from infancy said: “If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.” She also once said, “When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior”.
From the age of 10 Fanny memorized five chapters of the Bible each week, with the encouragement of her grandmother; by age 15, she had memorized the four gospels, the Pentateuch, the Book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and many of the Psalms.
Arguing for support of education for the blind, she was the first woman to speak in the United States Senate when she read a poem there. She appeared before the joint houses of Congress; what a testimony!
Sometimes we refuse to try new things, using our limitations as the reason. She learned to play the piano, organ, harp, and guitar, and became a good soprano singer. She wrote thousands of hymns, remarking: “I never undertake a hymn without first asking the good Lord to be my inspiration”. Her capacity for work was incredible and she could often compose six or seven hymns a day, dictating them to an amanuensis. However, Fanny said that her chief occupation was working in missions.
“Rescue the Perishing” (1869), which became the “theme song of the home missions movement” shows us where her heart was. She was active in speaking engagements and missionary work among America’s urban poor almost until she died at the age of 94.
In her nineties in 1911, Crosby spoke to 5,000 people at the opening meeting of the Evangelistic Committee’s seventh annual campaign held in Carnegie Hall, after the crowd sang her songs for thirty minutes.
What lessons might we learn from this remarkable servant of God? Why did God allow her to struggle with blindness? Why does God allow our particular struggles? What is it that gives you and me the strength to overcome?
“Near the cross! I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever;
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river”. [Refrain]
Let us begin a New Year at the foot of Jesus’ cross, watching and waiting for His return!
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)