When Francis Jane Crosby was only six weeks old, she was taken to a doctor to treat an inflammation in her eyes caused by a cold. The regular physician was out of town, and the substitute gave little Fanny’s parents a faulty treatment that blinded the child within days. She was blind for the rest of her life. That first tragedy was followed by others. Her father died when Fanny was just a year old, and her mother had to hire herself out as a maid to provide for the family. Fanny was able to attend a school for blind children and afterwards taught there, but when she was 29 a cholera epidemic killed more than half of the children in the school. After she married, her only child died in infancy.

Yet, in spite of these tragedies, Francis Jane was always a cheerful, happy person, free from the bitterness that so easily besets humans. When only eight years old, she wrote a poem that revealed a lot about the spunky little girl who climbed trees and played practical jokes in spite of her blindness:

    Oh what a happy child 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!
    So weep or sigh because I’m blind, I cannot—and I won’t!

When a preacher once sympathetically remarked that it was a pity God had not given her sight, Fanny replied, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind?” The preacher asked her why. “Because” she said, “When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!”

Fanny Crosby authored more than 8,000 poems and songs, including “Blessed Assurance.” Like her, may we rejoice in the goodness of our God in every situation, that like her we can sing: “This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long.”