Blessed Assurance

(Pic: courtesy of God talking to me last weekend)

 

I have many fond memories of singing hymns in church as a child; they have always had a special place in my heart. I still visit those hymns in my head on a regular basis. One day, as I sat down to write, I started singing the song Blessed Assurance and I decided to look up who wrote this beautiful hymn. This is the story, this is the song…

Francis Jane Crosby was born in New York in 1820. As a baby, she contracted an eye infection that was not treated properly by her doctor. She was left in darkness because of the scaring. Just a few months later, her father became ill and died. Her mother was only 21 at the time and had to work as a maid to support them. Fanny’s maternal grandmother became her caregiver.

Fanny’s grandmother became her eyes as she educated her and vibrantly described the world. Her grandmother took special measures in neutering Fanny’s spirit through the teachings in the Bible; always emphasizing the importance of praise and prayer. Eventually, Fanny became very depressed; she longed to learn as other children did. Her grandmother told her to pray to God for peace and knowledge, and Fanny did.

In 1835, she enrolled in the New York Institute for the Blind and she knew this was God’s answer to her prayers. She went on to become a teacher at that same institute for twenty-three years. In March of 1858, Fanny married a former pupil from the institute that she had taught at. He was a musician who was considered one of the finest organists in the New York area.

One evening, her friend Phoebe was visiting her and played a tune on the piano. She asked Fanny what it sounded like to her. Fanny responded, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!” The two of them continued to sing the melody and write the lyrics together.

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

Chorus:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

These words were written by a blind woman, whose father died shortly after her own illness took her sight. One can only assume that her struggles in life were actually “real”. Yet through her struggle, she gained strength in Christ. Not only did she become a teacher, she wrote over 8,000 hymns, thousands of poems, a few books, and was a missionary and living disciple for Christ! She didn’t always praise Him, she had to learn to praise His name.

Think back to when you were merely six weeks old, chances are you don’t remember anything, I know I don’t. Most babies start to crawl around six months or so, because they are trying to get to something or somewhere. Imagine yourself learning to crawl, or even walk, totally unguided by sight, with just sounds to lead your way. You bump into things you would normally go around and avoid, you end up with more bruises, bumps, and scrapes then the average little one. You were born with the natural desire to discover, and you want to play, but you don’t have any clue what to play with. You feel the warmth of the hugs and affection from those who love you, but you never see their faces. You stumble through life, wanting to be like the other kids your age, and you become depressed. You have no choice but to be dependent on and trust those around you. You trust what you can’t see, because there are no other options. You feel God ‘s love for you and you know He wants more for you. He sends you to a school for the blind, where you learn to read and be more independent, all while believing others and believing in Christ. You aren’t allowing any fears to stop you in your tracks. You are in the dark, yet you learn to let the light of Christ guide you. You have never seen the beauty in God’s creations; the blue sky, a lightning storm, the bright shining stars on a clear night, the waves of the ocean, the gorgeous green trees, and the flowers that bloom in the spring. Try to erase those visions from your mind for a moment. Just think of darkness. Now imagine (in that darkness) that you are committed to moving forward in life; you are fearlessly and wonderfully made by God, and you choose to relentlessly follow Him. You do not want to visit the malignancy of your depression any longer and coveting the sight that others have is constricting you from truly feeling joyous. You learn to find joy through Christ, regardless of the unpleasant circumstances in your life. Everything you do glorifies God, despite any of your shortcomings. You have been given little in life, yet you use what you have to prosper as a disciple for Christ, and He continually blesses you with more and more.

I am certainly that person who has let my circumstances, pick-pocket my joy and distract me from my calling. I’m generally a really happy person, but my happiness has clearly proven, time and time again, to be materialistic. The joy of the Lord, is such a precious experience, why I have ever set it aside for my own pity party is beyond me; but I have. Christ has been there for me through everything. All of my sadness, mistakes, and despair; even when I didn’t praise Him in my storms… He was omnipotent, He was there!

February 12, 1915 Fanny Crosby went on her final mission to spend eternity with Christ; but not before she said these words: “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. 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”. Then before taking her last breath she said, “when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior”.

This is her story, this is her song, she praised her Savior, all the day long.

Psalm 136:26 (AMP)

26 
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) {His agape Love} endures forever.

What amount of darkness will blind you from the Lord, when you allow yourself to be guided by His light?

 

 

 

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