The next time you are tempted to complain about a trial or hardship, think about Fanny Crosby. Painful though it may be, could it be that God has tucked you away in a hard place for your own spiritual safety?
Frances Jane Crosby was born in 1820 in Putnam County, New York. Within two months Fanny became gravely ill and her parents, desperate to save their little girl, sought assistance from the family doctor who, as it turned out, was out-of-town. When a stranger, who claimed to be a doctor, offered help they were more than happy to invite him into their home to take a look at their ailing daughter. The man ordered hot mustard poultices to be applied to Fanny’s eyes and within days the infant was blinded. Upon being exposed for the fraud that he was, the man disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. It wasn’t long after that Fanny’s father died, forcing her mother to earn a living as maid in order to support the family. The responsibility of Fanny’s upbringing fell on Fanny’s grandmother, a devoted Christian who was more than up to the task. Among other things, Fanny’s grandmother would read her long passages from the Bible each day. By the time Fanny was ten years old, she had half of the New Testament memorized and more than 5 books of the Old Testament.
At 8 years old, Fanny wrote her first poem.
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!1
Once, a well-meaning preacher remarked to Fanny, “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when he showered so many other gifts upon you”. To which Fanny responded,
Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind? Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.2
Fanny Crosby went on to write more than 8,000 hymns, some of which include; “To God Be The Glory,” “Praise Him, Praise Him,” “Tell Me The Story Of Jesus,” and “I Am Thine O Lord” — all of which have lyrics that reflect a soul who loved and exalted Christ over and above all things.
Sometimes, the very thing that you think was designed to destroy you, is actually God’s tool to heal you and make you whole.
Yea, these afflictions and sufferings of the saints not only reveal and heal their sins, but also put them upon the exercise of grace: ‘In their affliction (says God) they will seek me early,’ Hosea 5:15. Yea, they not only draw out their graces but reveal their graces too, which possibly they never took notice of before. – William Bridge, “A Lifting Up for the Downcast”
1 Mark Galli and Ted Olsen, 131 Christians Everyone Should Know (Tennessee: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000) 161.