Fanny Crosby (1820 – 1915) is listed in the “Hall of Faith” in a book I read recently. She was a Christian poetess and hymn writer. Among her titles are “Blessed Assurance,” “To God Be the Glory,” “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” and “I Am Thine, O Lord.”
Fanny was blinded as a baby. In her biography, she explains the incident. She states, “When I was six weeks old, a slight cold caused inflammation of the eyes. Our usual doctor was away from home, so a stranger was called in. He recommended the use of hot poultices, which practically destroyed my sight. When this sad calamity became known, the unfortunate man thought it best to leave the neighborhood and we never heard of him again.”
Incredibly, the blind Fanny wrote more than 8,000 hymns. Even more remarkable is how she recorded them. She completed each one in her mind and then dictated it to a scribe. She could compose 12 to 14 hymns and hold them in her memory before dictating them.
Fanny’s faith in God and complete acceptance of her lot in life was just as amazing as her poetic abilities. When she was 9 years old she wrote, “Oh what a happy soul I am, Although I cannot see; I am resolved that in this world; Contented I will be. How many blessings I enjoy, That other people don’t; To weep and sigh because I’m blind, I cannot, and I won’t.”
Of the charlatan doctor who blinded her she said, “I have not, for a moment, in more than eighty-five years, felt a spark of resentment against him; for I have always believed that the good Lord…by this means consecrated me to the work that I am still permitted to do.”
She didn’t allow anyone to pity her. She said, “Darkness may throw a shadow over my outer vision, but there is no cloud that can keep the sunlight of hope from a trustful soul.”
A pastor once commented, “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you.” She replied immediately, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind.” “Why?” asked the surprised clergyman. “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!”
Fanny Crosby was a living testament to the fact that Christians can truly, “…walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church