Frances Jane VanAlstine lived from March 24, 1820 to February 12, 1915. During her lifetime, she wrote more than 8,000 hymns and gospel songs. In case that name doesn’t ring a bell, she was better known as Fannie Crosby. VanAlstine was her married name. Though she was caused to be blinded by a quack doctor shortly after her birth, she did not use this as a “handicap.” She stated that she forgave the person that caused her blindness, and said she held no animosity in her heart toward him.
She heard many times about how sorry people were about her blindness. It’s said that a Scottish Minister once told her it was too bad that God did not give her the gift of sight. Her remarkable reply was, “If I had been given a choice at birth, I would have asked to be blind; for when I get to Heaven, the first face I see will be the One who died for me. (all emphasis mine)
Even though she could’ve been bitter, she chose a most beautiful pathway that has brought a mass of inspiration into this world. As I looked through just a partial list of songs credited to her, memories of worship services all the way back to my childhood came to mind. I never realized one beautiful person wrote so many of them.
Her husband was also blind, and they met at the New York Institution for the Blind where she was a student for 8 years, and then stayed after graduating as a teacher at the school. They married in 1858, and were separated only by his death in 1902.
For being a “non-sighted” person, her hymns give us a most graphic view of what will be coming just about any day now. She gave us “visions” of Our Savior, and that He will come for us to take us away to be with Him forever. She “saw” more than any sighted person I know, including me.
The song “Blessed Assurance” was written by her in 1873, yet the words are absolutely significant for today’s world:
(1) “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine. Oh what a foretaste of Glory Divine. Heir of Salvation, purchase of God. Born of His Spirit; washed in His blood.
(c.) 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.
(2) Perfect submission; perfect delight. Visions of Rapture, now Burst on My Sight. Angels descending, bring from above. Echoes of Mercy, whispers of Love.
(c.,3) Perfect Submission; all is at rest. I and My Savior, are happy and blest. Watching and waiting; looking above. Filled with His goodness; lost in His Love.”
Ms. Crosby developed a great relationship with the Savior, and was not afraid to say, “Jesus is Mine.” How many people today are so intimidated by the ways of this sinful world that they won’t even acknowledge the name “Jesus” except maybe to use it in vain? After all, according to this Satan-driven world, to say you Love Jesus would make you a “hater.”
The chorus – Her Story, Her Song, Praising Her Savior all day every day – is absolute perfect “communion” that she experienced every day, not just an hour or two each week. She knew without a doubt she was a part of Jesus’ “Church,” in or out of a building. A true Lamb of God.
Would it not be wonderful if we were able to look into her mind to see the “visions of Rapture, now burst on my sight”? “Watching and waiting, looking above.” Rather than taking her talent and keeping it to herself, she followed what Paul said we should do in Romans 12:4-8:
“For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function; so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another. And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If that gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his/her faith. If it is service, he/she must serve; if it is teaching, he/she must teach; if it is exhortation, he/she must exhort; if it is contributing, he/she must do so with sincerity; if it is leadership, he/she must do so with diligence; if it is showing mercy, he/she must do so with cheerfulness.”
To this group of talents, I would add: if someone has the gift of heavenly songs within their heart, they must share them with the world. Ms. Crosby filled that talent well. For anyone seeking the Lord, besides reading God’s word regularly, music is great for the soul. Getting into a song such as “Blessed Assurance” is comforting to know that anyone who wishes can have a true relationship with Our Savior, who just also happens to be the creator of our world and of us (John 1:1-5).
No other so-called deity is said to want a relationship with their subjects. They’re designed after man’s quest for power and control, and woe be to those who resist.
Our Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one Godhead in three entities; they are in perfect harmony, and the desire of our God is to let us know He loves us beyond all understanding (Philippians 4:7; Ephesians 3:15). We’re all familiar with John 3:16 and Romans 5:8. There was never a doubt we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and in need of a divine Savior. The only possible acceptable solution would be for God Himself to provide the sacrifice that could not be equaled by any other source.
This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision, but was made when this earth was first created (Genesis 3). Prophets such as Isaiah told of the coming Messiah and what He would endure (Isaiah 53). Jesus did not come here as a human, and then discovered His role after He grew up. As John 10:18 states, He came “willingly” to fulfill the Father’s love for us. He fully knew all He would go through. The one part of the whole process that He dreaded was being separated from the Father for the first time ever. When He took all our sins – my sins – on Himself, the Father had to look away. For that brief moment, Jesus became the true sacrificial lamb for us (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34; Psalm 22).
After all that our Savior went through, our God could have demanded we all worship Him, and in any way He would choose. Instead, our Heavenly Father demonstrates His true and pure love for us by giving us the free will to accept or reject the most precious gift we could ever receive.
For those who accept, first and foremost, we’re promised to be kept from the coming Wrath/ Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). While God is in the process of allowing the ultimate antichrist to cause havoc on this sin-filled world, all true believers will be with Jesus. When He returns to step foot on the earth at the end of the Tribulation, we believe we will be with Him as His holy army. We won’t be there to fight, but to witness Him put the rebellion down with just His word. We will have new forever bodies, and our minds will be compatible with His.
For those who choose to reject Jesus, God will allow them to do so. If they should die without ever asking Jesus to be their Savior, they will face the Great White Throne Judgment and be cast into the Lake of Fire with Satan and his demons forever (Revelation 20:11-15). No other option exists.
Our Father made a covenant with us through the shed blood of our Jesus. His covenants are forever. We have the Blessed Assurance that what we will have forever is far beyond what we can even imagine. Wonderful souls such as Ms. Crosby have given us a glimpse; however, I imagine she was overwhelmed when she first saw her Savior on February 12, 1915. I look forward to thanking her and many others who have been an inspiration in my life; that is, right after I bow to the ground at my Jesus’ feet and thank Him for loving someone as unworthy as me. I believe there will be many who feel the same way.
Plan on calling on Him to be your Savior today; and I’ll look forward to you being at my side at His feet.
Ahavah Olin! (Love Everlasting)