“He Hideth My Soul” – 1890
So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Exodus 33:22
Bouncing back – that’s a quality to be cultivated, because life is full of struggles. How do we become resilient? Unsinkable? Joyful amid the blows and burdens of life? This hymn tells us:
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, He taketh my burden away;
He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved, He giveth me strength as my day.
This hymn by Fanny Crosby explains the author’s life, for Fanny faced three incredible hardships during her ninety-five years. The first was her blindness, caused by a careless doctor when she was only six weeks of age.
The second was a less-than-ideal marriage. Fanny was teaching at the New York Institution for the Blind when a young musician named Alexander Van Alstyne joined the faculty. Fanny later recalled, “After hearing several of my poems he became deeply interested in my work; and I after listening to his sweet strains of music became interested in him. Thus, we soon grew to be very much concerned for each other . . . Love met love, and all the world was changed. We were no longer blind, for the light of love showed us where the lilies bloomed.” The two were married on March 5, 1858. No one knows what happened, but years later the two drifted apart and in the end occupied separate addresses.
Fanny’s deepest blow was the loss of her child. To this day, no one knows if it was a boy or a girl. Fanny seldom spoke of the infant. The child’s death seems to have devastated her, and she privately bore the sadness all her life.
Yet all who knew Fanny Crosby spoke of her energy, her zest for life, her joy. One biographer said, “Even in extreme old age, she would tire out people twenty or thirty years her junior.”
She said, “How long am I going to travel and lecture? Always! There is nothing that could induce me to abandon my work. It means nothing to be eighty-four years of age, because I am still young! What is the use of growing old? People grow old because they are not cheerful, and cheerfulness is one of the greatest accomplishments in the world!”
Fanny Crosby lived out her song every day of her life: “He hideth my soul in the depths of His love, and covers me there with His hand.
Remember that joy is not dependent on our circumstances. Some of the world’s most miserable people are those whose circumstances seem the most enviable. People who reach the top of the ladder career-wise are often surprised to find emptiness awaiting them. True joy is a by-product of living in God’s presence. Therefore, we can experience it in palaces, . . . anywhere.
We should not judge a day as devoid of joy just because it contains difficulties. Instead we need to concentrate on staying in communication with God. Many of the problems that clamor for our attention will resolve themselves. Other matters we must deal with, but God will help us with them. If we make problem solving secondary to the goal of living close to Him, we can find joy even in our most difficult days.
Trust and Joy in the Midst of Trouble
Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines;
Though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food;
Though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and makes me tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19
In my lifetime I have been privileged to have known, observed and admired a few “Fanny Crosbys”. They seem to be unassuming, but live lives to the fullest and always in the service of others. Each one of them have danced across my minds eye as I wrote this devotional and each one will remain closely held in my heart. It is my hope that you can recall some of the saints who have touched your lives and made a difference for you and others. Remember, talk about them and keep them forever alive so that we can all learn the lessons of joy that Christ taught us. Jesus walked this earth sharing stories with all those he met. We are to do the same – spread his joy through your stories of inspiration and joy.
Honor and majesty are before him,
Strength and joy are in his place. I Chronicles 16:27
Those of whom I write constantly push through adversity and find a joy in living that can only come from dedication to and love for Jesus Christ. He has told us that he will never leave us; that he is with us always. Clinging to this promise, claiming it in every aspect of daily life, is the glue that holds us together as we journey together on the path he has chosen for us.
Wintley Phipps https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3j-SIPRSCk
Grace, Peace and Joy to you as you listen!