Blessed Assurance

        The Spring Season envelops the earth
with its warmth of light and growth from God. The blue crystal skies beckon
rain clouds to water the earth.  Each
tiny flower is a testimony to God’s Love. 
I see in my mind two memory photos of my Grandmother and my Mother,
backs bent over working the soil to raise flowers and food from God’s earth.
Two generations and more, praising God for His Goodness.  Did they think of the distant future as they
lived their lives?  They chose to live
quiet lives of prayer and industriousness, raising faithful children. Did they
understand how their choices bless and guide future generations? 

         Yesterday, in a conversation with my
dear, 94 year old Aunt, we talked about scriptures.  She shared this one with me. 
therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is
the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations
of those who love him and keep his commandments.  Deuteronomy 7:9.
many years is a generation?  From 20 to
100 years is the answer. Fanny Crosby was born in 1820.  Fanny (Frances Jane) Crosby, became blind at
six weeks of age.  She could not see the
world around her as she grew up, but her spiritual sight continues to be a
blessing to all of us today.  She grew up
a happy and active little girl.  Her
father died early and her mother was forced to support the family by being a
maid.  Fanny’s Christian Grandmother
spent much time with Fanny.  Fanny began
writing verses when she was eight years old. 
She saw the world through words. Her heart was filled with faith in God,
and her heart-sight was thankfulness and praise to her Father in Heaven. He
gave her a special gift of knowing Him.
lived for 95 years.  During those years
she wrote many verses set to music, plus books of poetry and her
autobiography.  Instead of anger at her
circumstances she praised God.  One
minister noted her gifts and commented, “It is a great pity the Lord did not
give you sight!”  Her answer, “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 added, “Because when I get to heaven, the first
face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”
in God gives us a light within that enables us to see eternity, even though we
live in a world of darkness.  
was able to attend the New York Institution for the Blind from 1835 and then
continued as a part of the faculty in 1842. 
There she met another student, Alexander Van Alstyne, who became a
member of the faculty as well. She married him in 1885.  It was in 1864 she began to write hymns
day Phoebe Palmer Knapp, her friend and composer, came to visit Fanny.  She played a new tune for Fanny, asking,
“What does this melody say to you?” 
Immediately Fanny replied, “ Blessed
Assurance, Jesus is Mine
.”  (Published
in 1873)
continued to write verses – we continue to sing to this very day.  Count the generations who have sung this hymn
in the last 144 years, whether you count a generation as twenty or one hundred
years, her testimony continues on.     
to “Blessed Assurance”, the other
verses of songs we sing, she wrote are: “Rescue
the Perishing”, “O Gentle Savior”, “Savior, More than Life to Me”, “To God Be
the Glory”, “Praise Him”, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus”, “Rescue the Perishing”,
“Jesus is Calling”, “Pass Me Not, I am Thine”, “Oh, Lord, Close to Thee”, “Near
the Cross, Give Me Jesus”, “All the Way My Savior Lead Me”, “He Hideth My Soul”,
“Redeemed”, and “Saved by Grace”.
hymns are her testimony to the strength and glory of our Savior’s Love for each
of us. 
     Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste
of glory divine!
     Heir of salvation, purchase of
God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
     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, happy and blest;
     Watching and waiting, looking
above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
     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.

         Read the words again – Visions of rapture now burst on my sight.
Crosby’s delight at the sight of seeing her God and Savior helps us, years
later ‘see’ with eternity-vision.  If we
cannot see beyond this world, we are at a dead end in death.  In Jesus and Jesus alone, we have Hope and Life!
         After studying the life of Fanny
Crosby, one thing becomes clear to me. 
Fanny had clarity of vision of Jesus Christ and Faith in Him. Because of
her steady faith and written testimony she has impacted the lives of many
sighted people.   Her many hymns are
exquisite paintings of faith, drawing others to see the great love of Jesus and
hope in Him.  
         And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives
in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made
complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In
this world we are like Jesus.
There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The
one who fears is not made perfect in love. 
1 John 4:16-18.
         If you need wisdom, ask our generous
God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
 But when you ask him, be sure that your
faith is in God alone.
         So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
         ….I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he
is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
Timothy 1:12b.

Comments? eacombs@att.net