Contributed by Terry Hunt
There always seems to be a story behind the great hymns of faith that resonate so deeply within us. Such is the case of “Blessed Assurance.”
One day Miss Fanny Crosby was in the home of her friend, Mrs. Phoebe Palmer Knapp. The Knapp home had a rare treasure - what was believed to be the largest pipe organ ever placed in a private dwelling. Mrs. Knapp called Fanny over to the organ to listen to a new melody she had just composed. After playing the tune a few times, she asked, “What do you think the tune says?”
”Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,” answered Fanny, drawing from her phenomenal mental storage of scripture. She then continued: “Oh what a foretaste of glory divine, Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”
Fannie knew all about blessed assurance…from six weeks of age until her death shortly before her 95th birthday…Fanny was blind. Sadly, the blindness was caused by medical error when a doctor applied a mustard poultice to her inflamed eyes from a cold inflection resulting in immediate blindness.
“My blindness gives me a tremendous appreciation for the 2nd and 3rd verses that have to do with sight: Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels descending, bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love. Perfect submission, all is at rest; I in my Savior am happy and blest; Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”
Once a preacher sympathetically remarked, “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you.” Fanny quickly replied, “Do you know that if at birth I have been able to make one petition, it would’ve been that I should be born blind?” “Why?” asked the surprised minister. “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!”
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him"
I find this scripture interesting because it contains more than what it appears on the surface. What we eventually learn from these words is that our entire spiritual journey is not only built upon our faith, but also is the means by which we exist spiritually from one day to the next. The quality of our spiritual life ultimately depends on HOW we embrace faith- on a Daily Level. As we learn to live a life of faith, we realize faith is not conditional. There are not times when our faith guides us, and times when it doesn’t. It becomes a part of our core where decisions are made, therefore our faith cannot be turned on and off at will. Either we are spiritual and live by faith, or we are not. There is no in-between. Living by faith is a maturing process. We soon learn living by faith means trusting God in every situation whether it is to our liking or not. When we live with conditional faith, we soon discover constant disappointment with God which will plague our spiritual growth; because God does not work in human terms nor in human ways. He works His work on His terms, which are much different and wiser than ours. The sooner we recognize the futility of bargaining with God in matters of faith, the sooner we will begin enjoying our faith journey. What God does in our lives is ultimately to His glory, and to our greater good as His children. So, let’s stop resisting the work of God in our lives and see it for what it is; Him moving our hearts through our struggles into the heart of Jesus - so we can bring glory to Him. Therefore, as you embrace your spiritual struggles, you will see the work of God unfold in your life.
Following a recent conversation, in which we were discussing the goodness and wisdom of God, I was given permission to share this story.
As I was conversing with Aaron Ellis concerning his recent back issues, something in both of our hearts began to surface. Instantaneously, we began sharing how God’s Fingerprints are evident in our lives, and how His loving care is never far from us. Aaron shared an interesting perspective which solidified this point. As Aaron and Rose moved into their new home in Linden, Aaron quickly noticed (with his doctor observation skills), judging by the amount of safety rails and a stair elevator, one or both of the previous owners had suffered with obvious health issues. Aaron mentioned his first thought, once settled into the house, was to remove this “equipment,” but today he is glad he did not do it. Recently, as Aaron has experienced severe back issues, various thoughts concerning his future capabilities, as well as Rose’s care, took center stage in his mind. He contemplated several options, and even considered building a house on land connected to Will and his family, which would supply family support and secondary assistance. As Aaron weighed his future possibilities, a light suddenly illuminated in his mind. The house that God had led them to (which they currently occupy), has everything Aaron and Rose need in this current moment. Unfortunately, because of his condition, he discovered a use for all of the support amenities his house has. He said although he didn’t need them when he purchased the house, he is thankful that God led them to that house and had it “readied” for the day when Aaron would need it. At this, both of our voices began to quiver as we realized how our God had orchestrated this all, knowing what was coming in the Ellis’ future.
How many times have you seen God active in your life, or used you in an obvious way as his vessel? Both Aaron and I are convinced, this happens much more often than we realize, as God is constantly telling us, “I am here taking care of you because I love you, My child.” There is no greater feeling than being “touched” by the creator of the universe.
As I searched for words to express my heart this week, these words emerged from the depths of the spiritual jukebox in my heart. We usually sing this song in preparation for communion; but today there is something about one recurring line in the song, that stands out in my heart. It’s the line in the song that says, “Come share the Lord.”
As we center our attention on the needs of the lost of our city, many thoughts overwhelm our minds. This happens for a number of reasons, from insecurity all the way to expectation. To be honest, they all neatly fit into the category of “apprehension.” We tend to see sharing the gospel somewhat as an adversarial event,
but it’s not. In its simplistic form, we are merely sharing the Lord with those who are seeking the cross. What greater gift can we give another human being than our time and concern for their eternity? I believe if anything, we should be overcome with a sense of apprehension only because it is a “holy ground” moment (perhaps our attention is in the wrong direction). We appear to be more concerned about the reaction of the individual, than we are about representing a Holy and Righteous God. Whatever the mental roadblock, I assure you it was put there by Satan. God has been trying to get us to understand that the message of the cross is greater than any roadblock Satan can put in our way. The best advice for all of us would be to remove our pride and expectations from the equation, and simply focus on “Sharing the Lord.” I’m convinced when we do this (which is our part), the power of God will do the rest. Can you think of anything greater than getting a front row seat to a soul surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Personally, I can’t. I pray the words of the song will serve as a motivator by giving us all the courage to “Share the Lord” with the lost.