Are you grateful? Do you recognize acts of kindness done to you by other people? Do you take your time to remind others that you are cognizant of their contribution to help you get the best version of yourself? Maybe I may need to remind you of something that you already know; people love appreciation. Everyone has within themselves a precious pride that thrives in recognition. Could it be that you owe someone a “thank you note”? Let us remind people that we are not taking their kindness in vain. If you enjoy their company or something, you better shout it out loud enough for them to hear and soft enough to avoid inducing a temporary disorder of grandeur. Or could you be fulfilling the Prophecy of Apostle Paul that people will be unthankful in the latter times?
I will now take a sharp turn and march down the lanes of history. You probably have heard of Fanny J. Crosby—and you don’t need to be a hermit or monk to know her—the American poet and hymnist. Born on March 24, 1820, in a little village in Newyork, and six weeks later, she became permanently blind, a condition which resulted from the medical malpractice of a physician who was attending to her. But in all her life, she penned 8000 hymns. When I think about her, I tremble. While with our eyes able to transverse the vast beauty of the meadow and mountains, vales and rills, we often murmur and quibble; this, however, was not the case for Frances. Her anchor statement was simple; “Blindness cannot keep the sunlight of hope from the trustful soul.” She also learned Bible verses by heart which greatly impacted her hymnody; her music are sermons in their capacity. Is your heart not touched when you sing ‘Rescue the Perishing’ or ‘Blessed Assurance’? When she was eight years old, she penned her first poem:
Oh! What a happy soul I am!—Frances Jane Crosby
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 nor I won’t.
I didn’t expect such sentiments from one who could not see the sunset and admire the sunrise. What a grateful soul she was. Allow me still your peace again with this question, “are you grateful?”
Impressed by her noble works and commitment, Miss Havergal penned this poem for Fanny Crosby:
Sweet blind singer over the sea,—Miss Havergal
Tuneful and jubilant, how can it be
That the songs of gladness, which float so far
As if they fell from an evening star,
Are the notes of one who may never see
“Visible music” of flower and tree…
How can she sing in the dark like this?
What is her fountain of light and bliss?…
Her heart can see, her heart can see!
Well, may she sing so joyously!
For the King himself, in His tender grace,
Hath shown her the brightness of His face…
Dear blind sister over the sea!
An English heart goes forth to thee.
We are linked by a cable of faith and song,
Flashing bright sympathy swift along;
One in the east and one in the west,
Singing for Him whom our souls love best!…
Sister! what will our meeting be,
When our hearts shall sing and our eyes shall see?
There goes a grateful soul. She was thankful for the privilege to hear the birds sing, and the river resounds her refrain. Though she could not see the summer moon, she was grateful for what she could still enjoy. Could it be that with our senses together, we are writing another book of Lamentations?
If there is an area in which we have been so ungrateful, it is in the way we use our senses. We can see, but what have you seen? Many people today have become enslaved to habits they can’t stop because of the exercise of the gift of sight! They have gone down into erupting volcanoes to see what is causing the upthrust of magma, and they cannot write a report for they have melted away. Some have peeped into the hole of vipers to find out how Mr. viper behaves at home, and they didn’t live to inform the World. How do you use your eyes?
You are not deaf, but what have you heard? Do you spend time hearing those that suggest impure thoughts and make you less disciplined? You may realize the need to avoid listening to everyone who can speak. Some of them will make you have a reason to give up too soon! So what have you heard?
Your taste buds can distinguish bitter from sweet, but what have you tasted? While the garden is full of life-giving fruits, why have you developed an unnatural fondness for the forbidden fruit? You should remember that when you place an intoxicating cup to your lips, you become responsible for all the deeds committed while under its influence! So what have you tasted?
Your palm can detect a hot metal and induce an automatic reflex action, but what are you touching? Are you still moving around with itchy fingers, touching everything that comes your way, or that can be touched? Did you know that even wasps can be touched or even concentrated sulphuric acid? But you may need to avoid them for your good. So what have you handled?
If you still have your senses together, may you employ them in such a way that your creator will be honored. Some people have been reduced to stranded wrecks of characters because they can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste! If Frances Jane, without her eyes, sand and wrote hymns that edify and consecrate, why should you be applauded for seeing and hearing that which suggests impure thoughts?
With all these in mind, I will steal your peace again with my question, “Are you grateful?”