The Life Of Fanny

The Apostle Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

March 24th is the birthdate of a lady who is a great example of living out the verses cited. Francis Jane Crosby entered into the world on March 24th, 1820. Shortly after her birth, a man claiming to be a doctor treated an eye infection Fanny had with a mustard solution. The infection went away, along with her sight. Her corneas were burned by the mustard solution.

This was not the end of the troubles in her young life. Her father died a year later. Her 21 year old mother went to work as a maid and her grandmother ended up being her primary care-giver during the day. What a care-giver her grandmother turned out to be. Eunice Crosby spent hour upon hour investing her time and energy into describing the world around Fanny. She taught young Fanny many things, most importantly, she taught her about faith in Christ and instilled in Fanny a love for prayer, the Bible, and having a close walk with God.

By the age of 15 Fanny started attending The New York Institute For The Blind. She was a devoted student with an amazing memory. She eventually went on to teach at the school.

What Fanny Crosby is most known for is her ability to write poetry, songs, and hymns. She penned more than 9000 songs. That’s Nine-Thousand! Her gift of poetry was noted early. At age 8 she penned these words that tell us she would not let her blindness keep her from living. She wrote:

“Oh what a happy soul I am, although I cannot see!

I am resolved in this world, contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t.

To weep and sigh because I am blind

I cannot and I won’t!”

She lived out her words. She didn’t let her disability dis-able her nor discourage her. In fact, Fanny didn’t desire pity. On one occasion some soul informed her how sorry he was that she could not see. For if she could see, she could have accomplished much more. Fanny told him, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?” She saw far more than that person did at that time.

It is likely your voice has expressed some of her songs. “Rescue The Perishing,” “All The Way My Savior Leads Me,” “Safe In The Arms Of Jesus.” “To God Be The Glory,” “Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross,” and “Blessed Assurance” are a few of her songs.

The Apostle Paul’s words were lived out in Fanny’s life. Her weakness, her pain, her lot in life did not cause her to feel hopeless. She allowed the power of Christ to be seen in her weakness. Her weakness became the means for the glory of God to be known to others.

She loved Jesus and at 95 years old she finally “saw” him. She had stated, “When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.” Wow. Imagine that moment for Fanny when she breathed her last, her eyelids closed, and then… “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face…” (1 Corinthians 13:12a).

Be thankful when next Tuesday comes, that 195 years ago Francis Jane Crosby was born. Be grateful she did not allow her blindness to rule her life. May the Lord grant us the grace to not let our weaknesses rule over us.

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