In the Spotlight

Music is… wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” ~Plato

When one thinks of some of the greatest Christian Hymns, it’s not hard to think about Fanny Crosby who wrote about 8000 hymns and poems over her lifetime.

One of the great hymns is one that I love for many reasons, mostly just because of the “Blessed Assurance” that it reminds me of.

I’m sure there are many stories behind many of her hymns, but today’s spotlight is not really just on Ms. Crosby but both the song and a part of her life in which some folks might not realize.

While she was blind from 6 months due to an illness, Fanny began to write at the age of 8, and displayed an attitude of gratitude that many of us would do well to learn…

“Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.”

She entered the New York Institute for the Blind at the age of 12* and soon became known as a prolific writer. It’s interesting to note that one of the male secretaries/assistant teacher befriended her and typed out many of her songs and poems.  Often times, both of them got in trouble for wasting Institute’s time.  The friendship lasted after the secretary eventually went on to become the 22nd President of the United States. Even in later years, President Grover Cleveland would set aside important presidential affairs to type out drafts for his White House Guest, Fanny Crosby.

Back to the hymn…

President Cleveland wasn’t the only influential friend Fanny Crosby had.  She developed a close friendship with a woman named Phoebe Palmer Knapp who attended the same church Fanny did. Mrs. Knapp was the wife of the founder of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

One day Fanny was visiting Phoebe at her home, where there was a huge pipe organ among many instruments in the lavish music room. Phoebe had just composed a new melody, and she asked Fanny to listen to it.  After playing it a few times, Phoebe asked Fanny, ‘What do you think the tune says?

Fanny was delight with the tune and exclaimed, “That says, ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!’” 

Fanny began to dictate verses to Mrs. Knapp, who wrote them down, fitting them to the melody just as we hear it sung today.

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.

 

And there we have the simple story behind a beloved hymn…

and for an extra bonus, Mike Weaver from Big Daddy Weave shares “My Story” which uses their own little tweaked version of the chorus of Blessed Assurance in their song….

*Some articles say she was 15 when Fanny entered the Institute

I hope everyone has a blessed day!