I was riding down the road the other day when Third Day’s version of “Blessed Assurance” came on. This song is by no means new to me. It’s one of those old hymns that they used to sing way too slowly in the church where I was raised. On already-dreary days, it could sound like something onerous—like a burden we bear rather than a blessing we enjoy. But this past Sunday afternoon in the passenger seat of our car, my rambling, inconsequential thoughts skidded to a stop, hydroplaning on my tears, as I heard the words again after several years. (Thankfully, my husband was driving and it was sunny, so nothing actually happened to the car.) The kids looked a little scared, and the husband kept glancing from the road to my face. Words locked up in my throat every time I tried to explain until I finally eked out, “I want this sung . . . at my funeral.” (This one and “How Great Thou Art,” which is my favorite hymn of all time but rather difficult to sing. I’ll tell you about that song another time.)
Thank you, Fanny Crosby, for listening to the Holy Spirit and narrating your relationship with Jesus in song! Here is the story, although, from what I’ve read, some of the details are debatable.
Just look at a few of the lines from this hymn:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Our experience of unity with Jesus is just a hint of what Heaven will be like. We are tasting glory when we pray, when we praise, when we produce His work. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist a bit of alliteration there.)
Heir of salvation, purchase of God . . .
On earth, the blessings of inheritance follow the death of the father. Descendants are usually still in mourning when the will is read. As adopted children of the One and Only God who cannot and will not die, we get the inheritance without the grief. Even while we enjoy all the blessings (i.e. the inheritance), we remain in God’s presence. Have you ever thought of that before now? I hadn’t.
Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest . . .
Rest, happiness and blessing all spring from submission. Crosby actually begins two of the three verses with “perfect submission.” It’s important. First, submit; then, know rest. There is really no rest apart from submission because there is too much stress when you try to be in control of your own life.
Watching and waiting, looking above . . .
It’s that expectant waiting that I wrote about previously. We can rest and be still while watching and looking because we have a special kind of assurance. Remember Hebrews 11:1? Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
Internally, I’m overflowing with Christ-like goodness. Externally, I inhabit a landscape of love so vast that I am lost in it. It’s inescapable, but I don’t care; I want to stay here. Like that movie, The Maze, but the opposite. Everything is good inside, and no one wants to leave once they’ve experienced it. (Disclaimer: I didn’t actually see the movie—just watched a preview.)
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.
Oh Father, let these words be the true and final version of my life: that I praised Jesus all day, every day!
And that is why you will hear this song at my funeral . . . not that I plan on dying any time soon.