Fanny Crosby: A short story on the extraordinary hymn writer

Born in Brewster, New York on March 24, 1820, Fanny Crosby is still remembered for her numerous life achievements though she died over a century ago. The poet is credited for one of the most popular hymns which begins with the words: Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O, what a foretaste of glory divine!…

Fanny was an American poet, composer, lyricist and mission worker. She died on February 12, 1915.

When she was an infant, she fell sick for over 2 months. Her family doctor was away, so Fanny’s parents employed services from a quack doctor who claimed to be a professional.

Fanny Crosby.jpg

Image: Fanny Crosby

“Doctor, are you sure you have to do this to her?” Mercy Crosby was quoted by

“Mrs. Crosby, I know it’s hard to hear little Fanny scream like this, but we must draw out the infection. These hot mustard poultices are the best way to do it…,” replied the medic.

Mustard plasters were prescribed for her eyes and eventually, she became blind from the treatment. However, she went on to write thousands of evergreen hymns during her lifetime.

According to a publication from The Adventist World, no one knows how many songs were written by Fanny, because publishers avoided printing too many hymns from one composer.

Fanny used over 200 nicknames to get her songs published and must have written between 3,000 to 8,000 hymns before death. Only 19 of her songs were published in the 7th-Day Adventist Hymnal.

A renowned preacher once said this about Fanny, 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 is popularly known as the “Queen of Gospel Song Writers” and as the “Mother of modern congregational singing in America.”

Most of her work, which can has been described as ‘paradigmatic of all revival music,’ are found in American hymnals. Among the long list of her popular songs are “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” “Blessed Assurance,” “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home,” “Praise Him, Praise Him,” “Rescue the Perishing,” and “To God Be the Glory.”

Despite the challenges she faced from being blind, Fanny loved God and appreciated Him for the gifts.

Oh, what a happy soul I am,
although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don’t,
To weep and sigh because I’m blind
I cannot, and I won’t!

*Fanny Crosby

Fanny responded to the preacher’s comment about her sight saying, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?…”

“Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior,” quipped the poet who had been able to see only for her first six weeks of life.