I have an unhealthy relationship with hymns. I think I like them too much. I have outgrown most of the music I liked when I was young, but I have never outgrown hymns. One of the hymns that have never left my best 10 list is Fanny Crosby’s Blessed Assurance.
I always wonder what she was thinking when she penned these words:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchased of God
Born of the Spirit, washed in his blood
I sometimes wonder how her Christian experience was. It’s not every day that you find a Christian who can boldly say that they have assurance that Jesus is theirs. You only need to listen to the lyrics of today’s worship songs to know what I am talking about. There is one asking God not to cast us away from his presence. There is another one about looking for Jesus, giving you the assumption that he went on holiday and got lost in the mountains. Today’s songs are full of pleading with God to please stay, and making pledges to make his stay worthwhile.
Is it any wonder that some of the modern, charismatic churches today won’t sing hymns? They simply don’t understand what kind of spiritual food the likes of Fanny Crosby ate that made them so assured of their relationship with Jesus. So they simply refrain from singing such songs, afraid that they may have to be forced to go the throne of Grace with boldness, and not timidity. (See Hebrews 4:16)
I don’t know much about Fanny Crosby, but one thing I know is she had it rough in life, since she was blinded before she had a chance to enjoy the gift of sight. If she was a member of today’s church, she would be crying out to God day and night to please hear her cries, have mercy on her and give her sight. She would be doing research into her family tree to find out which generational curse was following her.
But thank God, blind as she was, she wrote one of the greatest hymns ever—one that talked of the beauty of salvation and the glory experienced everyday with the blessed assurance that Jesus was yours, never to leave.
I long for the day when the church will wake up and realise the assurance we have in Christ, that when he said he would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), he meant it. I wish we would believe it when we open our bibles and read that God is madly in love with us, that he rejoices over us with singing! (Zephaniah 3:17). I want to see a generation of Christians who will, once again, believe that nothing—absolutely nothing—can ever separate us from God’s love for us (Romans 8:35-39).
I haven’t lost hope. Not yet. For I can hear a voice, one voice of a million people, singing, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”