THE BLIND GIRL — by Fanny Crosby

Her home was near an ancient wood,
Where many an oak gigantic stood,
And fragrant flowers of every hue
In that sequestered valley grew—

A church there reared its little spire;
And in their neat and plain attire.
The humble peasants would repair
On Sabbath morn, to worship there;

And on the laughing breeze would float
The merry warbler’s choral note,
When at Aurora’s rosy dawn.
She decked with light the dewy lawn.

A pearly stream meander’d there;
And on its verdant banks so fair,
From school released, at close of day,
A group of happy girls would play.

With their gay laugh the woodlands rang;
Or if some rustic air they sang,
Those rural notes, of music sweet.
Echo, would in mock tones repeat.

Amid those scenes of mirth and glee.
That sightless girl, oh where was she?
Was she, too, blithely sporting there,
Or wreathing garlands for her hair?

She sat beside her cottage door;
Her brow a pensive sadness wore;
And while she listened to the song
That issued from that youthful throng;

The tears, warm gushing on her cheek,
Told what no language e’er could speak;
While their young hearts were light and gay.
Her hours passed heavily away—

A mental night was o’er her thrown;
She sat dejected, and alone.
Yet, no; a mother’s accents dear,
Came softly on that blind girl’s ear.

While all were locked in dreamy sleep,
That mother, o’er her couch would weep.
And as she knelt in silence there.
Would breathe to God her fervent prayer;

“That He, all merciful and mild.
Would bless her sightless—only child.”

‘Twas eve—the summer’s sky was bright.
The crescent moon unveiled her light
And many a mild and radiant star
Its lustre spread o’er climes afar.

That mother, to her throbbing breast
Her lovely daughter fondly pressed.
She on her bosom leaned her head,
And thus in mournful accents said:

“Tell me, dear mother, what is sight?
I hear you say the stars are bright
In yonder sky of azure hue;
I wish I could behold them, too:

You tell me of the summer flowers,
That blossom in the green wood bowers.
Their balmy breath is sweet to me.
And shall I ne’er their beauty see?”

There Anna paused—her mother sighed,
Then in a low, sweet voice, replied:

“On earth these joys may ne’er be thine.
But why, my child, why thus repine?
‘Tis thy Almighty Father’s will.
He bids thy murmuring heart be still;
There is a fairer world than this—
A world of never-fading bliss.
There let thy heart—thy treasure be.
And thou its purer joys shalt see.”

The summer and the autumn passed.
And wildly blew the winter blast;
‘Twas midnight, nature slept profound.
Unbroken stillness reigned around—

Save in one little cottage,
Where was heard a dying mother’s prayer.

“Oh God, my helpless orphan see,
She hath no other friend but Thee;
She frendless on the world is thrown
Sightless—heart-broken—and alone—
Father all merciful and mild—
Oh God ! protect my orphan child”

One last farewell that mother breathed—
One parting sigh her bosom heaved,
And all was over—she had fled
To mingle with the silent dead.

The dreary winter passed away,
The spring returned and all was gay;
O’er hill and vale, and verdant plain,
The warbling choir was heard again.

Yet spring or nature’s cheerful voice,
Made not that orphan’s heart rejoice;
Her mother’s grave was near her cot.
And Anna, to that lonely spot
Led by some friendly hand, would stray,
To kiss the turf that wrapt her clay.

‘Twas evening’s melancholy hour.
And zephyrs fanned each sleeping flower;
O’er her soft lute her fingers ran,
And thus her mournful lay began:

“Alas! how bitter is my lot,
Without a friend—without a home—
Alone—unpitied and forgot—
A sightless orphan, now I roam.
Where is that gentle mother now,
Who once so fondly o’er me smiled,
Who gently kissed my burning brow.
And to her bosom clasped her child?
I could not see that angel eye.
Suffused with many a bitter tear.
But oh! her deep, heart-rending sigh.
Stole mournful on my listening ear.
I knelt beside her dying bed,
I felt her last expiring breath,
God bless my child, she faintly said,
And closed those lovely eyes in death.
Oh! how I long to soar away.
Where that departed one doth dwells
To join with her the choral lay.
Angelic choirs forever swell!”

She ceased—she heard a footstep near,
A voice broke gently on her ear:
”Maiden, I’ve heard thy tale of woe.
And more of thee I fain would know;
Oh tell me why thy youthful brow
Is mantled o’er with sadness now?”

“Sir,” she replied, ” well may I weep;
Beneath this little mound, doth sleep
All that on earth to me was dear;
My mother’s lifeless form lies here;
And I, her only child, am left
Of kindred, and of home bereft;
But He who marks the sparrow’s fall,
Will hear the helpless orphan’s call.
My mother left me in His care,
He will not leave me to despair.”

The stranger sighed; “Maiden,” said he,
“Thou hast my warmest sympathy;
No longer friendless shalt thou roam,
I’ll take thee to a happier home;
A home erected for the Blind—
Where friends, affectionate and kind,
Will o’er thee watch with tender care.
And wipe away the orphan’s tear.”

“Forgive me, sir!” the maiden said,
As modestly she bent her head;
“I cannot bear to leave this grave,
Where these pale flowers so sadly wave.
And oh! while here I sit alone.
And listen to the wind’s low moan,
Methinks my sainted mother dear
Smiles on me from her starry sphere,
And softly then she seems to say,
“My child, my darling, come away
To the bright mansion where I dwell
And bid that world of care farewell.”

The stranger wept; his generous heart
In other’s sorrows shared a part.
“Thou must not linger here,” said he,
“Haste, I entreat thee, haste with me.
Thou lone one, to that dear retreat,
Where thou a sister band shalt meet;
Yes, maiden, they are blind, like thee,
And they will love thee tenderly.”

How changed ! that sightless orphan brow;
Her buoyant step is light and free.
And none more happy is than she:
For Educations glorious light
Hath chased away her mental night.
Contentment smiles upon her face,
And with delight, her fingers trace
The Page,” by inspiration given,

“To guide her to a brighter heaven.
If o’er the past her memory stray.
Then music’s sweet and charming lay,
Drives each dark vision from her breast.
And lulls each heaving sigh to rest.
Her grateful lips breathe many a prayer
For him who kindly placed her there.

[The foregoing was suggested by an incident which occurred while visiting the interior of the State of New York, with a view of satisfying the public mind of the advantages to be derived from placing the blind at the Institution, and was inscribed to H. M., one of the managers, who accompanied the party…]

Two Hours

Two Hours

I never got to know your names
I never got to celebrate your birthdays
I never got to join you at the dinner table
to give thanks for good and perfect gifts from above

But I felt your loving arms around me,
I felt tender voices surround me
I heard your quickened heartbeats as you drew me close to you
You would have kept me but I was only passing through
And though I only had two hours on this earth
I lived a lifetime of love with you

Loving faces greeted me from the moment of my birth
Gentle arms passed me ’round in my two hours on this earth
Though there was nothing you could do,
you fought with me through every breath,
and you held me to my very end,
loving me from birth to death

Though you were very sad to see me go
I hope somehow you will always know
That I could not have been more wanted or loved
From the day my heart started beating
to the day I slipped away

There were tears, there were smiles,
there were curious looks to see
who it is I take after in the family
And though there was no way that I could say it
I felt your love all over me
It was the best two hours on earth
to be part of this loving family

And now I will wait patiently for you here,
in a better place than earth,
in the everlasting loving arms,
of God Who loved me first

Lord of my death

Lord of my death
Lord of my weeping
Lord of my loss
Lord of my wounds
Lord of my illness
Lord of my unbearable pain
Lord of my heavy, light suffering
Lord of my unending, momentary affliction
Lord of my weakness
Lord of my fear
Lord of my despair
Lord of my uncertainty
Lord of all
Scoop me up into arms that hold to the ages
Out of time and out of dying life
Take me into wonder that I have slightly tasted
Into Your death and unending Life
Spread out Your Lordship over all of my being
Precious Lord Jesus
Lord first and last
God’s final Word forever
Have the last say!

“He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong.”
–2 Corinthians 12:9,10

“Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
–2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Hope for grieving hearts

There is this Man Who was a Man of sorrows
of His fame we have heard
For upon His broken heart He bore the sin of all the world
in Love, in redeeming us, that He might bring us to God
But He was brutally killed by powers of sin and rebellion and darkness
And they laid Him in a grave to bring the story to its everlasting end
However… from deep, deep, deep within the heart of the Rock of ages
came an anguish so great and so overpowering:
The beloved Son of God had been taken away!
And in a moment an everlasting resolve rose up
from untold depths in Almighty Power in Indestructible Life
declaring that this will not stand, this will not be the last word
For there is One Who will say the last thing in all of heaven and the world
And no power — in heaven or on earth or in the universe —
will be allowed to withdraw the good and perfect Gift of the Father of Lights
No power or thing will be permitted to separate
the Love of God from His Beloved
Not will be taken away The Son of God
Not will be shut up The Way of Life
Not will be put out The Light
Not will be withdrawn The Love of God
Not will be aborted The Adoption of sons and daughters
And came an unalterable unchangeable Speaking…
Indestructible Life reanimated, the Son of God stood and departed from His grave
death, that ancient foe, was overpowered and conquered
with his wretched companions suffering and sorrow
Father God — Who is greater than all —
gathered His Beloved Son into everlasting arms

into heavenly places

and drew Him into the safety of His bosom
never to see corruption
highly exalting Him with The Name above every name
Where, in His Presence, there will be pleasures forever more
The Firstborn among many brothers,
The Resurrection and the Life,
The First and Last
The Alpha and Omega
The Almighty
The Ark of Refuge for all who have taken His Life as their own
believing into Him and subsumed into His Indestructible Life
who have been changed into glorious new creatures,
who will never die but will be awakened from sleep
and lifted up from the dust of the earth
into unending joy unspeakable and full of glory,
the Life of God’s Anointed One now their anointed life
And so — in hallowed Nearness to God —
we will be with the Lord forever
Never doubt it
O my sorrowful and contemplative brother or sister
who find yourself and your loved ones,
and all you have known here on earth,
passing so quickly out of time and into eternity,
I exhort you to take up the eyes of eternity
and endure your sorrow now with the joy set before you
with the Hope of Glory, which is God’s Anointed One in you:
He Who was, He Who is, and He Who is to come, the Almighty!

Our Precious Lord Jesus,
Savior of the world,
Son of the True and Living God:
We call You to come!
Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Psalm 61:

Hear my cry, O God, and attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart faints;
Oh lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
For You have been my shelter, a strong tower before the enemy.
I will dwell in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.
For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You appointed the inheritance of those who fear Your Name.
You will add days to the days of the King;
His years will be as generations to generations.
He shall abide forever before God;
appoint mercy and truth to preserve Him.
So I will sing praise to Your Name forever,
so that I may pay my vows day by day.
(To the chief musician. On stringed instruments. Of David.)

Psalm 71.3:

“Be a Rock of strength for me, to which I may always go”

Psalm 73.23-26:

“Yet I was continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. You shall guide me by Your counsel; and afterward You will take me to glory. Whom have I in Heaven? And I have no desire on earth besides You. My flesh and my heart waste away; God is the Rock of my heart and my Portion forever.”

Revelation 21.1-7:

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea no longer is. And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, having been prepared as a bride, having been adorned for her Husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God with men! And He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death shall be no longer, nor mourning, nor outcry, nor will there be pain any more; for the first things passed away. And the One sitting on the throne said, Behold! I make all things new. And He says to me, Write, because these Words are faithful and true. And He said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending. To the one thirsting, I will freely give of the fountain of the Water of Life. The one overcoming will inherit all things, and I will be God to him, and he will be the son to Me.”

2 Corinthians 5.1-8:

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle is taken down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in Heaven. For also in this we groan, greatly desiring to be clothed with our dwelling place out of Heaven, if indeed in being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For indeed, being in the tabernacle, we groan, having been weighted down, inasmuch as we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed, so that the mortal may be swallowed up by the life. And the One having worked in us for this same thing is God, who also is giving us the earnest of the Spirit. Then always being fully assured, and knowing that being at home in the body we are away from home from The Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight), even we are fully assured, and think it good rather to go away from home out of the body, and to come home to the Lord.”

Do Not Expect What Has Been Before

I am the God Who made you small
I am the God Who is all in all
I have kept you through the years
And if you look, I am still here

These are days like you’ve not known
Come reverently, come you alone
Do not expect what’s been before
These are the days of The Lord

The glory that was in past days
Now seems emptiness always
Hold up your heart of poverty
Not to the past, but to Me

These are days like you’ve not known
Come reverently, come you alone
Do not expect what’s been before
In these days look to The Lord

Disappointed and betrayed
Things you hoped for slipped away
Look around at all the change
And you’ll see that I am the same

These are days like you’ve not known
Come reverently, come you alone
Do not expect what’s been before
God has not less to come, but more

Sitting lonely and alone
Far away from love you’ve known
Never doubt that I am there
With you, every tear to share

These are days like you’ve not known
Come reverently, come you alone
Do not expect what’s been before
These are the days of The Lord

“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.”
—Ecclesiastes 7.10

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
—Philippians 3:14