Posts Tagged ‘fanny crosby’

“Broken Purposes but Answered Prayers”

April 17, 2016

April 2016 Android 2552.jpg

I discovered this old book quite by accident one morning this week. Written by an English lady with the unusual name of “Anna Boobbyer,” I feel that I am going to find a wealth of spiritual treasure in this antiquarian volume with its old cloth cover! Under the title on the cover of the book are these words:

“Make use of me, my God.

Let me not be forgot,

A broken vessel cast aside

One whom thou needest not.”

The words somehow struck a chord with me. How easy it is to feel discouraged when you are weary and perhaps not feeling as optimistic about life as you once did. Ill health (or even just the aging process!) certainly has the potential to take its toll on your enthusiasm and then when this old life throws other problematic issues your way for good measure, well…

However, my eyes scanned the title page of the book. This book was in its third edition, with over 31,000 copies having been produced! On the very first page of chapter one, I read these words by the author… “I was only two-and-twenty, and in buoyant health and spirits, when in one short day, from mountain climbing, my bodily sufferings began; and my hopes, desires, and prayers for an active life in the Master’s service were utterly crushed, and “all my purposes were broken off,” like poor Job, when those sad words were wrung from his aching heart.” She has written… “it is forty years today (1893) since I became an invalid – for life, unless my heavenly Father should interpose, and heal me in my old age, as I am now sixty-three.”

Yet, as my eyes skim this book by a lady who was “confined to two rooms,” I see a wealth of experiences which, when shared, have the potential to touch hearts and be mightily used of the Lord. I began to think of some hymn writers who also suffered from ill health or were incapacitated in some way. Frances Ridley Havergal suffered much in her short life, surviving almost fatal typhoid in 1874. She said: “Pain as to God’s own children, is truly and really only blessing in disguise. It is but His chiselling, one of His engraving tools.” Frances trusted the Lord to save her at age fourteen and some years later, in 1873, declared: “I was shown that ‘the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,’ and then it was made plain to me that he who cleansed me had power to keep me clean; so I just utterly yielded myself to Him and utterly trusted Him to keep me.” Despite the brevity of her life (for she died at forty-three) her numerous hymns, inspired by the Holy Spirit, continue to speak on to souls over a century later.

Another hymn writer (Fanny Crosby) was blind for her entire life, from the time that she was only six weeks old. She said: “It may have been a blunder on the physician’s part, but it was no mistake of God’s. I verily believe that it was God’s intention that I should live my days in physical darkness, so as to be better prepared to sing his praise.” For me her beautiful hymns had almost a heavenly perspective. Perhaps, because she had never been able to see the vain things of this life, her spiritual sight was intensified…

“Safe in the arms of Jesus,

Safe on His gentle breast,

There by His love o’ershadowed,

Sweetly my soul shall rest.

Hark, ‘tis the voice of angels,

Borne in a song to me,

Over the fields of glory,

Over the jasper sea.”

Prolific hymn writers and those in other areas of the Lord’s service have very often been subjected to what the rest of the world only sees as ‘terrible misfortune.’ Yet the ‘broken vessel’ is the one which the Master will use for His glory. I am sure there were times when Anna Boobbyer, Frances Ridley Havergal and Fanny Crosby shed silent tears but praise God He has “wiped away all tears from their eyes.”

What an encouragement to know that today the Lord can use the broken vessel mightily; our tears, born of dark experiences and recorded in poignant words, can live on for years to come; to encourage, convict and warm the hearts of other needy souls, perhaps long after we have departed this scene of time and “‘till He come.”

 

Today is My Birthday!

August 28, 2010

Today is my birthday; not my ‘earthly’ birthday, but the anniversary of the day on which I asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into my life. I rejoice in this knowledge and yet this morning I felt convicted that I had initially forgotten that on this day thirty-two years ago, I made a decision which was to change the direction of my life forever. “Would I forget my ‘earthly’ birthday?” I asked myself, although I knew the answer to that question was “most probably not.” As coincidence would have it, this morning my daily reading was in Philippians 3. When I reached verse 19, the words “who mind earthly things” gave me food for thought. I am probably not the best judge on the issue of how my spiritual growth has been for the last thirty-two years and yet I know for sure, that my Lord and Saviour has been my constant companion throughout the ups and downs of life. I love Him with all my heart and my desire is to serve my risen Saviour for all the rest of my life, in the knowledge that whatever happens to me, “I must have the Saviour with me, for I dare not go alone, I must feel His presence near me, and His arm around me thrown.” These words comprise the first verse of Fanny Crosby’s hymn… “I must have the Saviour with Me” and for some reason I have been unable to get the tune out of my head all week!

Throughout the changing seasons of life; through all that I must face, I can lean on Him, my Lord, my Saviour, my Confidant, my Teacher and my Comforter. This morning I also read… “I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Verses 14&15) Therefore I ask Him to reveal to me those things in my life that are displeasing to Him – and I ask Him to assist me, by faith, to put matters right.

Unfortunately my mind on this morning had been pre-occupied with the cares of this life… concerns about my daughter going to college in a different country; concerns about a loved one’s health; other concerns… I was so burdened about so many things – and then He reminded me! “Did you not trust me to be your Guide all those years ago? Was I not with you through it all?” And so…“I must have the Saviour with me, in the onward march of life, thro’ the tempest and the sunshine, thro’ the battle and the strife…” No, I dare not walk alone through this wilderness of life, weighed down with a great backpack of troubles; I must always have His Presence to comfort and sustain.

Perhaps the Christian life can be best summed up in a verse which I read earlier in the week: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1v21) Yes, He has given me yet another gift on my “birthday” – the joy of knowing for certain that I can trust Him to lead me in the right paths, for He has only my best interests at heart. “Then my soul shall fear no ill, Let Him lead me where He will, I will go without a murmur, and His footsteps follow still.”

What sort of person would I be today, had I not trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour thirty-two years ago? Really, I don’t want to think about that but I feel that, had I not, I would be a more materialistic person than I am today. I am surrounded by many who have great possessions in this life, but I thank God that He can give us a heart to count the material things of this world “as dung” that we may win Christ. (Phil. 3v7&8)

My sister gave me a gift when we moved to this home, many years ago now. It was a little wooden plaque inscribed with these words: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4v19) To those who trust Him, all our needs will be provided – physically but most of all… spiritually. Surely “our sufficiency is of God.” (2Cor. 3v5) So, whatever the rest of my life holds for me in terms of “tempest or sunshine,”… “I must have the Saviour with me, and His eye the way must guide, till I reach the vale of Jordan, till I cross the rolling tide.” Praise God for the depths of His mercy and love in sending the gift of His Son, my Lord Jesus Christ – and thank you Lord for saving my soul!

Link to this hymn: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/s/a/v/saviorwm.htm