Fanny Crosby was a prolific hymn writer, writing more than 8000 hymns. Soon after she was born, in 1820, it was realised that she was totally blind. Before she was one year old her father died so Fanny was cared for by her mother, Mercy, and her maternal grandmother, Eunice. The family moved to New York and experienced financial hardship. Her grandmother Eunice was determined her granddaughter would flourish despite being blind. She read classics like Shakespeare and Don Quixote to Fanny, taught her about nature, and taught her to memorise many verses from the Bible. Fanny said, “It was Grandma who brought the Bible to me, and me to the Bible.”
In 1849, a cholera outbreak flooded both the city and the New York Institution of the Blind where Fanny was studying. Many of Fanny’s friends died. One night, Fanny dreamed of a friend who appeared close to death. He asked about her eternal salvation. When she woke up, Fanny felt unsettled and began attending numerous churches. She was religious and knew many Bible verses but didn’t yet know Jesus as her personal Saviour. When she was 31-years-old Fanny asked Jesus to be her Saviour and soon began writing hymns.
Fanny’s best-known hymns express her own praise to God and thankfulness for her Saviour Jesus. One of her hymns says, “To God be the glory, great things he has done! So loved he the world that he gave us his Son, who yielded his life an atonement for sin, and opened the life-gate that all may go in. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, let the earth hear his voice! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice! O come to the Father through Jesus the Son and give him the glory, great things he has done!”
Many of the things Fanny said expressed her love for her Saviour Jesus, her acceptance of her blindness and her bright hope for the future: “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for this.” “The Lord is the sunshine of my soul.” “Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.” “I could not have written thousands of hymns if I had been hindered by the distractions of seeing all the beautiful objects that would have been presented to my notice.” “If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind, for when I die, the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour.”