How would you like to be blind? As an Optometrist, I can tell you that his is one of the greatest fears for most people.
Fanny Crosby was born in 1820, and blinded by an illness when she was a child. She lived to be 95 and wrote over 9,000 hymns, so she clearly did not let her disability stop her from what God had called her to do!
While she wrote classics like “The battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Blessed Assurance”, this is one of my favourites and I believe one of her very best worship songs.
This song was written and published in 1872, it did not really become popular until Ira Sankey took it to England. However, it really shot to stardom in 1954 when Cliff Barrows included it in the Billy Graham Crusades, and I became hugely popular from then on.
Barrows had heard the song on an earlier visit to England, and was impressed with its strong note of praise –– so he included it in the songbook and used it in the crusade. The crowd responded so enthusiastically that he sang it nearly every night.
Upon returning to the United States, Graham and Barrows introduced the song to an American audience for the first time at their Nashville Crusade. Once again, the crowd responded enthusiastically, so Graham and Barrows adopted the song as one of their standards. Because of their influence, the compilers of hymnals began including it in new hymnals. It has become sufficiently popular that I was surprised to learn that it had languished in disuse for such a long time.
Fanny Crosby could have given up and been miserable, but she found joy and sight beyond human understanding, captured beautifully in this hymn, which I have done as a Scottish Theme.