You know those people that seem to always have a song in their hearts? It can be pouring rain, bumper to bumper traffic, or 2am in a hospital waiting room and those people are whistling or humming away, seemingly unphased by the surrounding circumstances.
As annoying as that can be when you’re the one in the next car over or even the neighboring ICU bed, this is the type of continual praise and thanks God commands from His children. Here’s a story of one woman who simply could not quiet her desire to praise her Creator.
What I love about her story is her choice to believe God’s goodness even in what humanly looked like an oversight or a mistake God could have corrected.
The Gift of No Sight
“It seemed intended by the blessed Providence of God that I should be blind all my life,” Fanny Crosby wrote in her autobiography, “and I thank Him.”
At just six weeks old, Fanny developed an infection in her eyes. When she went to the doctor to be treated, he made a mistake—a mistake that made her blind. Instead of feeling angry toward him, Fanny saw that this was God’s provision for her life. She later said that if she could meet the doctor she would say, “Thank you, thank you” over and over again.
Because she couldn’t see, Fanny developed other assets, such as a keen memory and a strong ability to concentrate. Her hearing was also more sensitive, as was her spiritual attentiveness to people’s hearts. She believed that her lack of sight made her a better speaker because her blindness created a bond of sympathy with her audience that made them more receptive to hearing the truths of the Bible that she talked about so often.
Fanny Crosby saw her blindness as God’s gift to her that provided the creativity to write more than 8,000 hymns. At eight years old she began writing her poems that would later turn into song lyrics. By age ten, Fanny was able to recite the first four books of the Old Testament and the four Gospels, simply by listening diligently as a neighbor read to her.
At 24, she published her first book of poetry that contained her first hymn. She went on to publish two more volumes that include her wonderful hymns, many that you may even sing today: “Blessed Assurance,” “All the Way my Savior Leads Me,” and “Saved by Grace” to name a few.
Though Fanny was a gifted writer, she did not take credit for the lyrics she composed. She said, “I never undertake a hymn without first asking the good Lord to be my inspiration in the work that I am about to do.” She prayed and meditated until the ideas came. When the idea was ready, she quoted it to a friend to write down and then sent it to her publishers.
Finally in 1915, a few weeks before her ninety-fifth birthday, Fanny got her eyesight back when she went to be with the Lord. What a life of joy she lived, even in the midst of never being able to see while on this earth! She said, “I could not have written thousands of hymns if I had been hindered by the distractions of seeing all the beautiful objects. Thank you, Lord, for making me blind.”
An old hymn that Fanny wrote says, “For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.”† Confidence in God as our loving, always-working-for-good Father helps us “calmly wait Thy will.” Singing these words of praise help to right an anxious heart and refocus it on Him who always gives what is best to His children.
If you don’t know this hymn, may your heart sing another today to keep His praises continually on your heart, mind, and lips.
Put it into Practice
During what times in your life have you found it hard to lift your voice in praise? Have you ever chosen to sing or listen to worship music anyway, in one of those off seasons? What was the result of an intentional choice to praise?
Pray this prayer to focus your heart on gratitude:
Lord, help me to find joy in the details of life that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself. Keep my focus on how You want to use me. You hear our loudest cries and our softest whimpers. You even understand our silence. Help us to see Your hand at work and to always say thank You.
Meditate on the verses below, one each day, to set your mind toward intentional offering of praise and gratitude this week.
As a reminder to you and your family to practice giving thanks, download this FREE Thanksgiving candle DIY template. For a full how-to check out this page. This is an easy and inexpensive way to add meaning to your table. Get your kids involved too. They can help you craft this!
*This story is taken from Growing Together in Gratitude, by Barbara Rainey, a read-aloud book for families. It is currently out of print but hopefully will available again in a year. Stay tuned!