Nancy Taylor Tate
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels…” 2 Corinthians 4:7.
As we were walking up our road one morning, I spontaneously started to sing —
“Blessed assurance: Jesus is mine! Oh, 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.”
I was rather surprised! I hadn’t heard that song lately, but it was just bubbling up inside me. Delighted, my musician husband joined in, and of course he knew all the words to all the verses, so we sang them all. What joy it brought as we walked our little dog Jethro up the street singing praises to the Lord!
We sang the same verses over and over because that was the melody that the Lord was obviously blessing! Hattie Hammond used to say, “When you strike gold, stay there.” And that’s just what we did!
Words from the song continued to echo in my heart all week. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! What a foretaste of glory divine! Born of His spirit! Washed in His blood! Praising my Savior all day long. This is my story! This is my song! Hallelujah!!! I’m praising my Savior, all the day long!
Praises kept welling up in my heart. What a privilege, what a joy!
This assurance and joy we experience is ours because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. It is an inner joy, based on our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and His work inside us. It is not based on what is happening or on what we have or don’t have. It comes from our fellowship with Him and His presence inside us.
“ Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places…” Habakkuk 3:17-19.
As I found myself singing “Blessed Assurance” and reflecting on the words over and over again, I decided to research this song’s history. It was written by Fanny Crosby in 1873. I read in the details of Fanny’s life that a doctor improperly treated an eye infection she had as a baby, causing scars on her eyelids which blinded her for life.
Her mother, widowed just a few months later, worked as a maid, so Fanny’s grandmother raised her. Fanny’s grandmother taught her the Bible and the importance of prayer. When Fanny had a hard time learning and was sad, her grandmother encouraged her to pray for knowledge.
When Fanny was twelve, she had opportunity to attend a school for the blind, then she later taught there for twenty-three years. She married a former student, a popular organist in the New York area. They had one child who died shortly after birth.
It was one evening while Fanny was visiting her composer friend, Phoebe Palmer Knapp, that Phoebe got a melody for which Fanny immediately had the words. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!” Together, they continued to write the beautiful lyrics that are still sung today.
“Blessed Assurance” is one of over 8,000 songs that Fanny wrote the words to, many still popular today. What treasure she carried! Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
I am so thankful for the treasure that we, too, carry. I am thankful for the joy and love that is ours in Christ Jesus.
In the third verse of “Blessed Assurance,” Fanny wrote, “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.”
Paul prayed that we too, would know the love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19). Scripture also speaks of being filled with the Spirit; filled with fruits of righteousness; filled with the knowledge of His will; filled with joy (Ephesians 5:18; Philippians 1:11; Colossians 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:4).
This is my prayer too, that we be “full” and ever mindful of this treasure we have been so blessed with. For it is Christ in you, that is the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27).
As we focus on what we do have, rather than on what we don’t, may we be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us. May fruits of righteousness be seen through our lives! May we come to a place of submission and rest in Him, as the love of God and joy of the Lord fills our hearts!
Jesus is mine! And I am His! This is my story, this is my song…