Blind paradox ∙
Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” – John 9:39
35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.
39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment– to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”
41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.”
Fanny Crosby was born in 1820 in Brewster, New York. The Father intended for her to experience a somewhat inverted miracle. It is just the opposite of what we would expect. Fanny had been born seeing but became blind. She became ill six weeks after birth. The family doctor was away. Another man, pretending to be a doctor, treated her by prescribing hot mustard poultices to be applied to her eyes. Her illness eventually abated, but the treatment left her blind.
However, her blindness was no limitation. Because she could see what most people are incapable of seeing. Fanny Crosby wrote more than 9,000 hymns, some of which are among the most popular of many denominations.
Her love of poetry began early. Her first verse, written at age 8, echoed her lifelong refusal to feel sorry for herself:
Oh, what a happy soul I am, although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy That other people don’t.
To weep and sigh because I’m blind I cannot, and I won’t!
Fanny had an amazing capacity for memorization, and she learned vast quantities of the Scriptures by heart. Fanny memorized several chapters of the Bible each week and could quote the Pentateuch, the Gospels, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and many of the Psalms before she was a teenager. She wrote, “The Holy Book has nurtured my entire life.”
Among her best-known hymns are: “Blessed Assurance,” “To God be the glory,” “Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” “Draw Me Nearer,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” “The Bright Forever,” “Savior, More Than Life to Me,” and “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.”
REFLECT & PRAY
When physical sight is lost, spiritual sight can flourish. Other human qualities and senses are often enhanced, including the ability to memorize.
Father when I think of Fanny, I am so greatly encouraged. What a delightful relationship she had with You! And because of her, our hearts can be closer to Yours.
The story of the man born blind is filled with many ironies and paradoxes. People who think they see actually do not. People who know they cannot see are given the ability to see physically and spiritually. Physical sight is inadequate without spiritual sight. Becoming aware of our inadequate spiritual condition is the first step to improving it.
The religious leaders were blinded by self-interest, wanting their own way and being convinced they were right. They were not aware that they were blind and certainly could not admit it. On the contrary, they thought they could see better than anybody else.
Being in the presence of the light of Truth only increased their blindness. Sometimes too much light can be destructive, like staring into the sun. The blind beggar knew his physical need but soon became aware of his spiritual condition. Because he was open and seeking, he could see physically and spiritually. He soon realized that the most important thing he needed was to “see” the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him.
Jesus did not come into this world bringing judgment. Whenever people are confronted with the Lord Jesus Christ, they at once pass a judgment on themselves. How? When a spectator is in the presence of a great work of art, such as a Rembrandt painting, they either recognize and appreciate its sublime beauty or criticize it. When such a critic finds the Rembrandt lacking, the viewer is not judging the art, which is recognized as an excellent masterpiece. Instead, the art judges them and reveals their inadequacy, lack of understanding, and art appreciation.
17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.
“Whenever people are confronted with Jesus, they at once pass a judgment on themselves. If they see in Jesus nothing to desire, nothing to admire, nothing to love, then they have condemned themselves. If they see in Jesus something to wonder at, something to respond to, something to reach out to, then they are on the way to God.”
“Those who are conscious of their own blindness, and who long to see better and to know more, are men and women whose eyes can be opened and who can be led more and more deeply into the truth.”
“Those people who think they know it all, those who do not realize that they cannot see, are men and women who are truly blind and beyond hope and help. Only those who realize their own weakness can become strong. Only those who realize their own blindness can learn to see. Only those who realize their own sin can be forgiven” (Barclay).
Human sight is limited to the physical world that we see. There is another world, a spiritual world that remains unseen most of the time. This was clearly revealed in the days of Elisha. Elisha had been hunted down and was in very dire circumstances, enemy soldiers surrounded Elisha. But the enemy was itself surrounded by unseen angelic legions who were prepared to act in his defense.
Elisha, the prophet, the seer, could see the unseen without effort. He had no reason to fear. Ordinary people do not have this luxury. Elisha prayed that his servant Gehazi could see what was unseen.
2 Kings 6:17 Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
And suddenly, the blinders were lifted, and Gehazi was enabled to see those who were always present but previously unseen, the angelic army that the Father had sent to protect them.
Fanny Crosby saw the unseen her whole life. Her delightful and beautiful hymns were motivated and informed by the work of the Spirit of God within. Her spiritual focus, spiritual insight, and informed words and melodies allow us to hear, see, and experience a taste of her vision and sweet relationship with the Father.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
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.
© Dr. H 2022