Enjoying the Journey
It has been my privilege to have several blind friends. As a college student I met a blind young man who had read several times through the Scriptures using his braille Bible. One of my greatest encouragers now is a blind missionary. Indeed, in the words of Fanny Crosby, “I sometimes think that blind people see more than their friends who have the power of vision.”
As I flew home from a meeting just a few days ago I had the pleasure of reading the autobiography of Fanny Crosby. Fanny’s hymns have found their way into great hymn books and, more importantly into the hearts of those who know and love Christ. Blinded as a young girl, she glimpsed with spiritual eyes what many people with perfect sight never see.
I laughed at her sense of humor, cried at her tenderness toward God, and was stirred by her strong and simple faith. Permit me to share a handful of excerpts that were a tremendous blessing to me…
Fanny was blinded by improper treatment from a physician. Though many believed it to be a tragic accident, she spoke of it as a part of the providence of God:
Although it may have been a blunder on the physician’s part, it was no mistake of God’s.
As many began to compliment her gifts early in life, a wise instructor gave her some of the best advice a gifted person could ever receive. She recounted his words:
Shun a flatterer, Fanny, as you would a snake! As yet you know very little about poetry or, in fact, anything else (compared to what there is to be known). You have almost all of it yet to learn. Do not think too much about rhymes and the praises that come for them. Store your mind with useful knowledge and think more of what you can be than of how you can appear. The favor and laudation of the world, Fanny, is a very fragile thing upon which to depend. Try to merit the approval of God and of yourself, as well as that of your fellow creature. Remember that the very air you breathe, the very food you eat, all the ability or talent that you may develop come from God. Remember the you are always in His presence, and who has any right to be vain for a moment when standing before the great Owner and Creator of all things!
Regarding friendship she wrote:
Old friendships do draw compound interest as the years go on! And what a grand treat it will be in the next world to meet all those whom we have known and loved here and talk over the events of the past.
One particularly helpful observation on moods was this:
Great men have widely varying moods and that they are at one time silently gathering up that which at another they dispense so lavishly.
On writing she said:
One cannot always determine at first sight, concerning product of the pen, which will most forcibly strike the public mind and heart.
Just this week I shared with someone who is seeking God’s will these powerful words:
Everything in this world is progressive, and courage and ambition are no exception to the rule. I seem to have been led, little by little, toward my life-work and believe that the same fact will appear in the life of anyone who will cultivate such powers as God has given him and then go on bravely, quietly, but persistently, doing such work as comes to his hand.
The famed poet of England, Frances Ridley Havergal, once wrote a tribute to Fanny Crosby. In it are these wonderful lines:
Must not the world be a desolate place
For eyes that are sealed with the seal of years,
Eyes that are open only for tears?
How can she sing in the dark like this?
What is her fountain of light and bliss?
Oh, her heart can see, her heart can see!
Pray today that God will give you a heart to see. Open our eyes, Lord. Give us spiritual sight. “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18)
All quotations are taken from Be Thou Exalted: The Life Story of Fanny J. Crosby. I strongly recommend this official autobiography.