|Heart to Heart - A Blog for Women|
Close your eyes for a moment and think about what it would be like to be blind. You can't see anything. On top of that, think about what it would be like to be deaf. You can't hear anything. That was Helen Keller's reality. She was deaf and blind her whole life, yet she declared, "I know life is given to us so that we may grow in love. And I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower, He is the Light in my darkness, and He is the Voice in my silence." How could she say that? Oswald Chambers says, "The songbird learns to sing in the dark". I always remember that when there is darkness in my ministry, darkness in my marriage or darkness in my workplace. Sometimes God puts us through the experience and discipline of darkness to teach us to hear and obey Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark. One morning I set out to find out if this were true. It is indeed true. A songbird learns to sing in the dark. If there were no darkness, no long winter, no night; she could not sing. So it is with us. God is giving each of us a beautiful song to sing. Every long night that we experience is producing a song of faith, hope and love. When we are in the dark, if we will listen, God will give us a precious song, a beautiful message for someone else, when we are back in the light.
I found 3 women who were true examples of songbirds learning to sing in the dark.
Fannie Crosby, Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller were physically blind. Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller were blind and deaf. There three steps these women took to sing the beautiful songs that they sang. 3H's. All three of the these women:
Heard from the Lord, Hoped in the Lord, and Hallelujah they sang to the Lord.
Fannie Crosby wrote over 8,000 songs; one of my favorites being "Great is thy Faithfulness." Despite becoming blind shortly after birth. Fanny Crosby was born in NY to poor parents, John and Mercy Crosby. At six weeks old, she caught a cold and developed inflammation of the eyes. The family physician was not available, and a quack who came in his place recommended mustard plasters as treatment. The botched procedure blinded her.
Her father died when she was one year old, so she was raised by her mother and grandmother. These women grounded Crosby in the Christian faith, helping her, for example, to memorize long passages from the Bible.
It is also important to note that Fannie Crosby did marry and have a child. Her one and only child died when she was just two months old. Her life was filled with tragedy and yet she praised the Lord.
Crosby was never bitter about her disability. At the age of eight she wrote these verses about her condition:
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."
She later remarked:
It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.
I thought about what she said. If perfect sight were offered, she would not accept. Could I say that? If a healing were offered for Camden, could I say I would not accept? If the Lord came to you tonight and said, "I am going to take back that darkest time of your life, would you give it back?" Wow. That was a tough question.
That would mean going back to the way things were before. Ah. I have been given over to thoughts of what it was like BC. Before Camden. But, I am quickly reminded of Lot's wife. Genesis 19:16 says the Lord had mercy on her. The Lord's messenger took her by the hand and brought her out of the city; out of the place of sure destruction. He told her point blank, "Don't look back!" But, she didn't listen. She looked back longingly at what her old life was like and ah what could've been…what should've been. Genesis 19:26 God turned her into a pillar of salt. Useless. She was rendered useless. I think physically she was moving. She was going through the motions. But, her heart was still in Sodom. Her heart was looking back at what she was denied.
Phillipians 3:13 forget those things that are behind and reach forward to those things that are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I think about Lot's wife. I think about what she had to give up. Her life was about to be turned upside down. She was being asked to give up everything. She was being denied the very thing she wanted. She had to give up life as she knew it. She had to sacrifice everything.
Sometimes the Lord brings us to that very place. Sacrifice. He wants us to sacrifice our desires for His. He wants us to sacrifice our pride. He wants us to sacrifice the idea that we are in control. If we want to be like Him, Paul tells us in Phillipians 3:8-9 I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him v 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.
There is a scarlet thread that weaves through this Bible. Scarlet is symbolic of the blood of Jesus.
Jesus sacrificed His life for mine. Jesus prayed "Father take this cup from Me, nevertheless, not my will but Yours.
His plan and purpose for my life are infinitely better than my own.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts I think towards you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope.
The word for hope is the same word used in Joshua 2:21
Joshua 2:21 …she (speaking of Rahab) bound the scarlet cord in the window. By doing so she put all her hope in God that He would save her.
The scarlet cord in both of these verses is the Hebrew words "shaniy" and "towla". It speaks of the female scarlet worm. I was amazed by this. No one could make this up. The symbolism is no coincidence and we don't want to miss the message.
"When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until they were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of old were extracted. What a picture this gives of Christ, dying on the tree, shedding his precious blood that he might 'bring many sons and daughters into glory' (Hbr 2:10)! Zondervan encyclopedia says in three days those eggs will come to life. Death brings life.
An amazing picture of the scarlet thread of sacrifice woven throughout the Bible and throughout our very lives! The scarlet thread of sacrifice brought resurrection. That same scarlet thread can resurrect anything dead in our lives tonight. Is your marriage a wonderful façade of the happy little family, but inside it is nearly dead. Maybe it has been dead for longer than you can remember. Is there a friendship that you thought could never be mended? A wall has been built up so high you think it will never come down? It will take the same sacrifice that Jesus made. What stands in the way? Pride. Pride is a relationship killer. Firmly plant yourself; willingly give up your pride. Jesus is able to resurrect your relationship. He makes all things new. There is no one and nothing beyond His touch. Micah 1:4 says mountains will melt like wax under a fire when brought before Him. Are you willing?
Have your dreams been crushed? Has someone disappointed you? Do you see no hope in your situation ever changing? Maybe the Lord hasn't given you all of your hearts desire. Has he asked you to just wait on Him?
The circumstances that have caused our deepest sorrow are not a coincidence. They is not a moment in time when God forgot about us. Fannie Crosby saw God in every thing. Big and small; He is involved in every detail. We think, "How can this be possible? His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are not my ways. It takes sacrifice to live for Christ. Dying to the way that we think things should be. It is a humbling task.
When I first found out about Camden, basically, I felt the Lord ask me a direct question. Are you willing to go through this so that you can bring salvation to another? How could Autism bring about salvation? Someone at Kennedy Krieger doesn't know me, will you share Christ with her? Maybe you thought you might have a wonderful career, but turns out the Lord asked you to sacrifice and be a stay at home mother. You think you may not make it through one more day. But, your neighbor is a stay at home mom too. She doesn't know Me. Will you share my love with her? Maybe your ministry is causing you grief. You are wondering if you are even called anymore. Crisis causes us to evaluate and take a spiritual inventory. The diagnosis hit me hard. It hit me at the core of what I believe. Will you sacrifice or will you walk away?
John 6:66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Will you walk away? Outwardly we say no Lord. But inwardly we checked out a long time ago. We are just going through the motions. The zeal is gone. The flame almost extinguished.
Fannie Crosby was able to live out Phil 4:11 for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. Jesus was all she needed.
Fannie Crosby was not afraid of the unknown. Fear exaggerates the problem. We begin to measure things by what we can see. Despair comes from half the truth! We factor and calculate without God. I must consider: God is working even when I can't see it! God is still on the throne! God is so for me! I am His daughter.
Think about it. When I am convinced of God's care and of His love; I do not fear what will happen. He will only allow things to come that work out for my good and His glory.
Romans 8:38 says I am convinced nothing can separate me from God's love; not things present, nor things to come. Nothing is able to separate me from the love of God.
Pain and darkness are a gift. Romans 11:29 The gifts and call of God are irrevocable.
Irrevocable has a surprise meaning….in the Greek means "supreme joy". Pain is a gift and ultimately will bring about joy because suffering and hardship are the basic building blocks of our faith. The result will always be bringing glory to God.
What enabled these ladies to persevere through the utter darkness and make their lives count for God?
What enabled them to sing in the dark? Check back next week and we will take a look at some of the things that made them so strong. Until then I pray God fans the flame of passion and fills your heart with zeal for Him!