I Cannot, and I Won't

Bill Brinkworth

Some, with fortunes many desire, have taken their own lives, showing that their massive wealth and possessions never brought them happiness. Many with handicaps and hardships have still managed to have contentment and peace in their lives. One’s physical, social, or financial condition has little to do with happiness and joy. Contentment with who one is and what one has can be obtained no matter the situation.

The life and attitude of Fanny Crosby well illustrates this fact. Born in 1820, her life started with problems. She was born in a poor household, and to make matters worse, she developed an inflammation of the eyes when she was six weeks old. The doctor was not available, so a replacement prescribed treatment for the infant. The hot poultices put on her eyes blinded her.

To make matters worse, her father died when she was one year old, and she was raised by her mother and grandmother. None of these misfortunes created any bitterness or a bad attitude in this blind child. At nine years old, her good attitude was reflected in her life and even in this short poem:

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.

Later she wrote: “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. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God, if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.” She had perfect acceptance of her situation.

With a life that many would pity, she was able to accomplish much. She attended the New York school for the blind when she was 15, and learned much about music, singing, and playing the piano and guitar. During her lifetime that education would help her as she wrote many poems, songs, and stories.

In 1863, she wrote her first hymn, and by the time she died in 1915, she had written over 8,000 hymns glorifying God. Many of them are still sung today, such as: “Blessed Assurance”, “All the Way My Saviour Leads Me”, “Close to Thee”, and “My Saviour First of All”. None of the “Queen of Hymn’s” songs reflect any resentment or malcontent of her blindness or mishaps in her life. She faced life proudly, not bitterly, and did not have the attitude that others should pay for her misfortune. Instead, she used her handicap for the glory of God, and He was able to use her mightily for the cause of Christ. She is a blessing to millions today, almost a hundred years after her death, because of the song and joy she had in her heart.

He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood. He who faces no calamity will need no courage. Mysterious though it is, the characteristics in human nature which we love best grow in a soil with a strong mixture of trouble.” Harry Emerson Fosdick


This article was featured in The Bible View # 137.

It was also posted on www.DevotionsFromTheBible.com

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