Updated: Apr 17
By sis Tan Geok Eng
If you have a story to tell, what would you tell? ‘This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Saviour all the day long.’ Does this sentence ring a bell? Yes, these are the lyrics of a song that we are very familiar with – ‘Blessed Assurance’, one of my favourite hymns. I also love ‘All the way my Saviour leads Me’, and ‘I Am Thine O Lord’. These are hymns I sang to my children when I rocked them to sleep when they were babies. These are words that give assurance and calmness to my heart and mind and I sing them when I am down or when I feel helpless or alone.
I love quite a number of hymns written by this person, Fanny J Crosby (1820-1915), hymns like ‘To the Work’, ‘To God be the Glory’, ‘Tell me the story of Jesus’, ‘Jesus keeps me near the Cross’, ‘Saved in the arms of Jesus’, ‘Rescue the Perishing’, ‘Redeemed’, ‘Praise him, Praise Him’. These are hymns that we sang quite often in the past.
The writer of these songs, Frances Jane Crosby, or more commonly known as Fanny Crosby, wrote over 8,000 Christian songs despite being blind since infancy. Crosby lost her sight to an eye infection at the age of six weeks, in part due to medical ignorance of that time. She nonetheless grew up an active and happy child. At the age of 15, her mother busied herself with making a living for both of them, so it was Grandmother who became an unforgettable influence in her life. Grandmother spent many hours describing the things of nature and Heaven to her. She also introduced Fanny to the Bible and this book now became more familiar to her than any other. She began to devour the scriptures. It was said that as a child, she could repeat from memory what Grandmother read to her from the Bible.
This reminds me of 2Ti 1:5. Apostle Paul wrote: ‘When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.’ 2Ti 3:15 ‘And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.’ These are reminders for me to read the Bible & tell Bible stories to my grandchildren (Noah and Amelia) whenever they visit us.
Fanny J Crosby never thought that her blindness was her mishap, but rather, a gift of God. She used that to be a source of strength to draw herself closer to God. Her talent for writing poems or song lyrics for tunes she heard in a very short time were used as inspiration for songs of praise to God. ‘Blessed Assurance’ and ‘Safe in the Arms of Jesus’ were songs of praise written in such situations.
‘Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine.’ Truly, what a wonderful blessing it is to have Jesus, to be an heir of salvation, purchased of God, born of the Spirit, washed in His blood, Yes, obedience to the gospel of Christ through water baptism and a perfect submission to God and His commandments, putting our faith in the Almighty God wholeheartedly.
2Pe 1:10 ‘Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall.’
‘These things’ are found in 2Pe 1:5-7. ‘And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.’
When we put our faith in the Almighty God wholeheartedly, we can be sure that we are ‘safe in the arms of Jesus, safe from the world’s temptation, sin cannot harm me there. Jesus my heart’s dear refuge, Jesus has died for me’. Such comforting words.
So, sing, in whatever situation you are in. Keep our souls and spirits lifted up and draw near to God with songs of praises to our living God.
Eph 5:19 ‘Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord’