Tuesday, 17 July 2012

TURNING PAINS TO GAINS THROUGH WORSHIP(A brief look at the life of Fanny Crosby)


(A brief look at the life of Fanny Crosby-The hymn Writer)-By Benjamin Anabaraonye

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine

Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine

Heir of salvation, purchased of God

Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

 Many love and sing the hymn “Blessed Assurance” but not many have heard the story of the awesome woman of God that wrote those electrifying words. Her names are Frances Jane Crosby(as given by her parents) though she later got married to Van Alstyne. She is fondly called Fanny Crosby.

                         A catalogue of childhood pains
Born in March 24,1820 to the humble family of John and Mercy Crosby.By late April of the same year, the Crosbys noticed something was wrong with their baby’s eyes. More disheartening, the family was unable to obtain competent medical assistance; the  community doctor was away.

 Finally,they found a man who claimed to be a physician. Whoever he was, he horrified the Crosbys with his “medical gymnastics” and at the end of the day, made the baby lose her sight totally. So Fanny became blind when she was only six weeks old.

 Further disaster struck in November of the same year, as John Crosby, Fanny’s father became seriously ill and died a few days later. Shortly after his burial, Mercy, his wife, hired herself out as a maidservant for a nearby wealthy family, leaving Fanny to be taken care of by Mercy’s mother Eunice. 

                       Her Christian Convictions
 Little fanny was undaunted. Somehow she knew deep within that God would bring good out of her pains. Thus, she kept a happy and cheerful disposition which was maintained all through her lifetime.

 Eunice took a special interest in Fanny. She determined she would be her eyes. She read the bible to Fanny and taught her of a heavenly Father who sent His only Son, Jesus Christ ,down into this world to be a Savior and a friend to all mankind .She also taught her prayer, thanksgiving and among other things, endurance.

 According to Eunice, the sufferings and frustrations of life could be borne patiently and cheerfully, because they were being led to something better. These teachings formed the bed-rock of Fanny’s Christian convictions and would later be reflected in her hymns which were also simple, direct and intensely earnest. Her faith and consecration also deepened as the years went by.

                      Worshipping God through Pains
Amazingly. Fanny held no grudges against the physician that incapacitated her sight. This act of forgiveness and submission to God’s Sovereignty was a great expression of worship, a sweet smelling incense before the Lord. Subsequently, she devoted her life to serving Christ and helping her fellow men, losing sight of her own predicaments.

                      Gains from Pains
In her 95 years, Fanny Crosby wrote approximately 9,000 hymns-more than anyone else in recorded Christian history and more than a thousand secular poems. She became in her day, the queen of gospel hymns.

 She wrote much loved hymns like “Blessed Assurance”, ”Pass me not, o gentle Savior”, ”Jesus keep me near the cross”,”Rescue the perishing”, ”Saved by grace”, etc.

In his 1924 autobiography, George Coles Stebbins who was a prominent hymn writer and evangelical singer wrote ”There was probably no writer in her day who appealed more to the valid experience of the Christian life or who expressed more sympathetically the deep longings of the human heart than Fanny Crosby”.

"Sankey did more than any other single individual to popularize and
immortalize Fanny Crosby's songs. The great crowds, who thronged
the Moody-Sankey revivals, sang her songs until they became part of
the heritage of that generation.

At 90 she declared, "My love for the Holy Bible and its sacred truth is
stronger and more precious to me at ninety than at nineteen." 
 A word on worship
Fanny Crosby’s story is a message for everyone who truly seeks to worship God in spirit and truth today, especially worship leaders. When pains come, as they surely would, Worship God through your pains and watch Him turn them to gains. You will find in the bee that stings, sweet honey that will make you sing.
Her minister, George M. Brown, of the Methodist church 
said it well:
  There must have been a royal welcome when this queen of sacred song
  burst the bonds of death and passed into the glories of heaven.
At her funeral was read words from Eliza Edmunds Hewitt, the last verse of
a poem freshly written which said:
  Good-bye, dearest Fanny, goodbye for a while;
  You walk in the shadows no more;
  Around you, the sunbeams of glory will smile;
  The Lamb is the light of that Shore!

For further reading on Fanny Crosby’s Biography:
i) Heroes of the Faith series
  Fanny Crosby-The hymn writer By Bernard Ruffin
  Barbour publishing Inc.,Ohio
ii)The story of the American hymn by Edward S. Ninde New york
    Abingdon press © 1921