Song Talks

Fanny Crosby

  • Song Talks

March 24th was a banner day in the Meyers household 8 years ago.  Our fourth child and third daughter Edison was born on that day. She has brought immense amounts of joy to our crazy clan of kiddos!  On the same day, 199 years ago another lady was born that has brought joy to just about anyone that has ever picked up a hymnal.

Just six weeks after little Fanny was born she developed an eye infection. The family's regular doctor was away, so an unknown doctor began to draw out the infection in her eyes under protest of Fanny's mother Mercy. When Fanny screams finally subsided, the doctor left, and the infection was cleared, but the damage to her corneas would prove irreversible and she was permanently blinded.

This of course didn't stop young Fanny.  After her father passed away when Fanny was very young her mother secured a job as a maid, and therefore left the child with her grandmother during the days. Fanny spoke fondly of her grandmother Eunice and remembers taking long walks in the meadows as her grandmother described every detail of God's creation.

Eunice Crosby spent many hours reading the Bible to Fanny and teaching her the importance of prayer and a close relationship with God. She quickly discovered that Fanny had an amazing capacity for memorization and encouraged her to learn large passages of scripture by heart. Fanny memorized several chapters each week and could quote the Pentateuch, the Gospels, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and many of the Psalms, and in her own words "The Holy Book has nurtured my entire life." This nurturing started very early in her life due to the influence and teaching of her grandmother.*

Fanny would soon make her way to New York and study at the Institute for the Blind. Soon she would join the faculty there and eventually tutor and meet her husband Alexander. Fanny Crosby is best remembered for the nearly 9,000 hymns she wrote, but amazingly enough, she did not begin her hymn writing until she was in her forties.

The church has been blessed with the hymns of Fanny Crosby for over a century and a half. Hymn writer George C. Stebbins stated, "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." And many of her hymns have stood the test of time, still resonating with believers today. Hymns such as "Blessed Assurance," "Saved by Grace," "Draw Me Nearer," "Safe in the Arms of Jesus," "All the Way My Savior Leads Me," "To God Be the Glory," "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross," and "I Am Thine, O Lord," expressed Fanny's love for her Savior, and commitment to singing His praise while she had breath. May we as people of God be marked by such devotion as we worship our Lord! 

Happy birthday Fanny, and thank you for the rich heritage of hymnody that has shaped generations and delivered to us a glorious collection of hymns for the church.  

Blessings,

Mark

*excerpt used from an article on Christianity.com 

 

 

 

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