It might seem unlikely that a blind writer of hymns living in a slum and a wealthy woman living in a mansion would have anything in common — but Fanny Crosby, the blind hymn writer, was a humble woman with a number of distinguished friends. Grover Cleveland, who later became President of the United States, met Fanny Crosby as a young man, and they became lifelong friends.
The friend in the mansion was Phoebe Knapp, the daughter of a Methodist evangelist. When she was just sixteen years old, Phoebe married Joseph Fairchild Knapp, a young man who went on to found the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. The Knapps worshiped at the John Street Methodist Church in lower Manhattan, which is where Fanny Crosby also worshiped — and so a friendship was born. Phoebe, the wealthy matron, often invited Fanny, the blind hymn writer, to her palatial home.
Phoebe enjoyed music, and had a music room furnished with a collection of musical instruments. During one of Fanny’s visits, Phoebe invited her to the music room, where Phoebe sat down at the keyboard and played a tune that she had written. “What does that say,” she asked? Fanny clapped her hands in delight and said, “That says, ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!'” And so a hymn was born.
During her lifetime, Fanny Crosby wrote eight thousand hymns, many of which became famous — but “Blessed Assurance” just might be the most famous of all.
OTHER HYMNS BY FANNY CROSBY:
All the Way My Savior Leads Me
Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home
I Am Thine, O Lord
Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior
Praise Him, Praise Him
Rescue the Perishing
Tell Me the Story of Jesus
To God Be the Glory
Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan