Seeing Clearly in Blindness: Fanny Crosby

This is a speech that I recently wrote for school. Although it is in a different format than my usual blog posts, I decided to share it here anyways. Enjoy!

A blind woman was once told by a preacher that it was a pity God did not give her sight when He gave her so many other gifts. In reply, the woman said,

“It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it.”

This woman is the famous poet and songwriter Fanny Crosby. How many of us are able to thank God for the struggles and apparent disadvantages in our own lives? By examining the life of Fanny Crosby I hope to show you how she was able to do so without the slightest hesitation.

Fanny Crosby was born in 1820 in New York. While only two months old, she became ill with an eye infection, which an incompetent doctor treated by putting hot poultices on her eyes. This healed the infection, but at a cost. The hot poultices caused scars to form on her eyes, and she was blind for life.

Not long after, her father died, and her mother had to work to support her family. Thus, Fanny was mostly raised by her Christian grandmother. Her Grandmother would often read the Bible to her. And because could not see, Fanny had to depend more on her sense of hearing and memorization. Soon, she memorized many chapters of the Bible.

Fanny found her passion at a young age- poetry. By the age of eight, she had written her first poem. Soon, she was writing many poems based on the parts of the Bible she had memorized. These poems were then put to music, and they have now become some of the most universally loved hymns. You may have heard of “Blessed Assurance”, “All the Way My Savior Leads Me”, and “Near the Cross”, to name a few.

Fanny Crosby had many reasons to be angry with God, but she never was. How could this be? Fanny realized that because of her blindness, she was able to serve God wholeheartedly through her songwriting and music. Throughout her life, she wrote over 8,000 hymns, sharing God’s love to people across nations and generations. Fanny comments, “I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.” Instead of viewing her blindness as a hindrance, she saw it as a blessing.

Fanny understood that there was something far more important and greater than any of her struggles. Although her physical eyes were unable to see, her spiritual eyes were open and clear.

“If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind…for when I die, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

Fanny Crosby

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