We see the blue skies of heaven by day. We see the sparkling stars of the distant galaxies by night. But we see the highest heaven by faith. And if ever a believer could see into the highest heaven by faith, it was Fanny Crosby.
Known as “the blind hymn writer” who wrote over 8,000 hymns, Fanny’s blindness dated from infancy when a botched treatment for inflammation of the eyes resulted in total loss of sight. Never in all her 95 years did she see the sun bring a new day or reveal the beauties of the day sky. Never did she observe the majesty of the night sky with its moon, constellations and shooting stars. Never did she see the heavens proclaim God’s glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork,” says Psalm 19:1.
Yet her piercing 20/20 spiritual vision could penetrate into the utmost heaven for a sweet foretaste of glory divine. This was the queen of sacred song who wrote “Perfect submission, perfect delight. Visions of rapture now burst on my sight,” for the beloved hymn Blessed Assurance.
Wait a minute. Visions of rapture now burst on my sight? Fanny was blind!
I would love to approach this remarkable woman with a request. “Help me to see this lovely grandeur you’re seeing, Fanny,” I’d say.
The verses she penned for the hymn itself answer my question. “I am filled with His goodness and lost in His love when I praise Him,” she would respond. ‘This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long,’ just like Psalm 35:28 says. The glories of eternal day are revealed to the ransomed spirit who puts on the garment of praise.”
Fanny was never bitter about her disability. “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life and I thank Him for the dispensation,” she once said. “If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me. When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!”
(Fanny Crosby died on February 12, 1915, and a carpet of white violets, her favorite flower, nearly hid the casket from view.)