Francis Jane Crosby was the author of over 9,000 hymns. Did you know she wrote so many that she began using pen names so that the hymnals would not be filled with her name alone?
Beautiful hymns such as:Blessed Assurance Safe in the Arms of Jesus All the Way My Savior Leads Me Rescue the Perishing Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross
Born in New York, Fanny was ill almost from the beginning. Their family’s regular doctor was out of town and another man, who claimed to be a doctor, prescribed hot mustard compresses to her eyes. She got over the sickness but the treatment left her blind.
Blindness didn’t deter her from her love of life and her love for the Word of God. She memorized scripture every day, five chapters a week!
Fanny loved poetry and wrote her first verse at the age of eight:
Oh what a happy soul am I!
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!
The Apostle Paul was also one to be acquainted with grief. He had lived through many, many persecutions. Most of them were physical.
“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 ESV.
And we think WE are persecuted for the name of Jesus!?Drifting at sea Stoned Shipwrecked Beaten Dangerous rivers Robbers His own people The Gentiles The City The Wilderness False Brothers Sleepless Nights Hunger and Thirst Cold and Exposure
And last, but definitely not least, he mentions the daily stress and anxiety brought on by the churches.
Paul was under a tremendous amount of pressure. Remember, he too was blinded once on the road to Damascus. The Lord put him in that state for three days and his life was forever changed. Even though he regained his sight, he then saw things completely differently, through the Lord’s eyes instead of his own.
But even in the midst of tremendous persecution, Paul found joy.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12 NLT.
Paul knew that no matter his circumstances, he could be content. Why?
Verse 13 tells us the answer:
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Maybe you are feeling as if you do not have much to be thankful for. Maybe life is not treating you kindly, or fairly, and everything seems to be upside down, like a little bug on the ground who can’t get turned back over on his feet.
God has not forsaken you, friend. We aren’t promised a life of walking on roses, but we are promised He will go with us. Sometimes your season of need may last much, much longer than you had anticipated or hoped for. But like Paul, and Fanny Crosby, we can always find something for which to be thankful.
Fanny didn’t let her inabilities or circumstances dictate her feelings. She didn’t even pray for her sight to be restored. “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?” said the poet. “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”
Neither did the Apostle Paul. In everything, even in the difficulties, they found a reason to be thankful. Paul didn’t make it a practice to pray for things…he prayed that he might KNOW Him.
Let us do the same.