Cross Points - Blessed Assurance

Cross Points - Blessed Assurance 


Fanny Crosby is a name well known among people who use old fashioned song books in church.  I grew up using the typical hymns and continued through much of my adult life.  Contemporary worship songs are a relatively new phenomenon.  I didn’t pay a lot of attention back in the day to the authors of these hymns, but I do remember the name Fanny Crosby.  

Blind from infancy, Fanny Crosby was a competent pianist, and loved to write verse.  She was upbeat about her blindness, once saying, “I believe that God intended that I should live my days in physical darkness so that I might be better prepared to sing his praise and lead others from spiritual darkness into eternal light.  With sight I would have been too distracted to have written thousands of hymns.”

Yes, she wrote thousands of them!  You probably recognize some of the names: To God be the Glory; He Hideth My Soul; All the Way My Savior Leads Me; Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior; Praise Him, Praise Him; I Am Thine, O Lord; Rescue the Perishing, just to name a few.  Here’s the origin of another one.

A woman named Phoebe Palmer Knapp is a socialite, the wife of a wealthy insurance man.  She
organizes charities, is a gifted organist herself, and likes to compose verses.  Knapp comes to visit Fanny Crosby with a composition in hand.  She sets down and plays it, asking, “Fanny, what does this tune say to you?”  The tune is upbeat, and Fanny quickly responds, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine” as she immediately puts words to the music she has just heard.  She continues working until the words are complete.  And here are her words as she listened to Phoebe’s tune:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!                                                                                                                  
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
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.

In 1873 the full hymn with its chorus is published on the back cover of the magazine
Guide to Holiness.  It becomes an immediate hit with American evangelicals, being included in many hymnbooks over the years to come.  I bet you’ve sung it many times yourself.  If not, it’s a song worth listening to, with a rhyme that is easy to remember and words you can hide away, ready to praise the Lord in song.  Remember, Fanny is blind.  Listen to words from the second stanza.  

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love

Cross Point: “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full (blessed) assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:22-23).  
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