It was malpractice and folks got so upset, the doctor skipped town for good. He had applied hot poultices to the eyes of a 6 week old infant, causing her to become permanently blind. But that tragedy didn’t stop the child. Even without the American Disabilities Act, Fanny Crosby managed to live a triumphant and happy life.
You probably know she wrote the hymn, Blessed Assurance (maybe not; I had to Google it…) but how many other hymns did she write? How about 5500, and that’s just the ones she submitted to her publisher. She had another 2000 in reserve. But we cannot measure her life by simply counting the number of songs she wrote. Try to imagine their combined impact. Someone slides into the back pew of a country church, devastated and grasping for hope. When the song begins, she cannot bring herself to sing but soon the swell of the voices and the encouraging lyrics penetrate her gloom. As she hums along and then quietly, tentatively, joins in, her spirits are lifted. Multiply that experience by many thousands. Only God knows how profoundly Fanny blessed others as her hymns are still sung, well over 100 years later. How could a blind person have led such a powerful life? The answer is simple and yet profound: The Holy Spirit revealed His power through her weakness.
Paul said it like this:
…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan [some believe this was also trouble with eyesight], to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. …For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7b – 9 & 10b with my comments in brackets)
If you see a strong man bend a pipe, you think, “No big deal; He’s strong.” You see a little kid do it, then you start wondering, what’s the secret? The same principle is at work when the Holy Spirit gives special strength to someone who is weak.