Friday, June 22, 2007

Supernatural Strength

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out something is very wrong with the idea of a good God overseeing a suffering world. If He exists, then why does He allow such horrible things to happen? It’s a question as old as humanity itself. The only answer is that this isn’t the way God intended things to be. We humans messed things up, and now we are paying the price for it.

But Jesus Freaks have a secret weapon against the horrors of this world: Jesus Himself! When He comes to make His "home" in your spirit, it truly is His home. And He will protect what is His. He doesn’t promise to make your life easier, but He changes the way you view that life and gives you supernatural strength to make it through the hard times. Suddenly your perspective is filtered through His eyes, His heart, His gentle Spirit, His joy.

A baby girl named Fanny, born in a small New York town in 1820, contracted a cold in her eyes when she was just six weeks old. A country doctor prescribed the wrong treatment, and the little girl was left blind for life. As she grew up, she determined to make the best of her disability, writing at age eight: "O what a happy soul I am! Although I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world contented I will be."

Fanny went on to a career as a teacher and writer-in-residence at New York’s Institute for the Blind. She recited her poems before Congress and made friends with powerful people, including presidents.

But something was missing from her life. In 1851, she found the missing piece: a relationship with Jesus Christ. Fourteen years later, she was introduced to the hymnist William Bradbury, who encouraged her to turn her poems into hymns. Bradbury gave Fanny the idea for a song he needed, and she sat down to write her very first hymn: We are going, we are going / To a home beyond the skies / Where the fields are robed in beauty / And the sunlight never dies.

It was the first of more than 8,000 hymns written by Fanny Crosby. Perhaps her most famous hymn, "To God Be the Glory," goes like this:
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. Great things He has taught us, great things He has done, And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son; But purer, and higher, and greater will be Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Another of Fanny Crosby’s best-known hymns, "Blessed Assurance," contains the words: This is my story, this is my song / Praising my Savior, all the day long . . . / Perfect submission, all is at rest / I in my Savior am happy and blest / Watching and waiting, looking above / Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Though we might look at Fanny Crosby’s story and see a life filled with hardship and sadness, she found a reason to sing out for joy. It was the supernatural joy of a Jesus Freak!
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