Safe in the Arms of Jesus

Fanny Crosby was born on March 24, 1820, in Putnam County, New York. She became permanently blind at the age of six weeks after being prescribed the wrong treatment for her inflamed eyes. Always positive, Fanny turned her handicap into an asset; even commenting that her blindness was actually a blessing for it removed the many distractions around her. When she was eight years old, with the same feeling as Paul when writing in Philippians 4:11–13, she wrote:

Oh, what a happy child I am,

Although I cannot see!

I am resolved that in this world

Contented I will be.

At the age of 15 she attended the New York Institution for the Blind, and in 1847 became a teacher there until 1858. She taught English grammar, rhetoric, and American history. But Fanny’s true love was poetry.

Her poems have been used the world over, set to the music of the popular tunes of her day as well as tunes especially written for them, both secular and sacred. She could compose at any time. Always in possession of a book of paper just for that purpose; and her spur-of-the-moment poems often became her best hymns.

Her hymns have been the favorites of composers and evangelists like W. H. Doane, who composed the music for many of her most well-known hymns, and Ira D. Sankey, a gospel singer and composer long associated with Dwight L. Moody.

We are familiar with many of these songs: Tell Me the Story of Jesus; I am Thine, O Lord; Sweet By and By; To God be the Glory; Take the World, but Give Me Jesus; All the Way My Saviour Leads Me; Praise Him, Praise Him; Blessed Assurance; Redeemed; Near the Cross; Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour, and over four thousand more. Fanny’s personal favorite was Safe in the Arms of Jesus.

“Contented I will be” remained the governing principle throughout Fanny’s life. She loved her work and was happy doing it. She often reflected that had it not been for her blindness, she might not have obtained such a good education or had so great an influence. It also strengthened her memory. She committed to memory large portions of the Bible, including the first four books of the Old Testament and all four of the Gospels before she was ten years old.

 Safe in the arms of Jesus,

Safe on His gentle breast,

There by His love o’ershaded,

Sweetly my soul shall rest.

Hark! ‘tis the voice of angels,

Borne in a song to me,

Over the fields of glory,

Over the jasper sea.

Safe in the arms of Jesus,

Safe from corroding care,

Safe from the world’s temptations,

Sin cannot harm me there.

Free from the blight of sorrow,

Free from my doubts and fears;

Only a few more trials,

Only a few more tears.

Jesus, my heart’s dear refuge,

Jesus has died for me;

Firm on the Rock of Ages,

Ever my trust shall be.

Here let me wait with patience,

Wait till the night is o’er;

Wait till I see the morning

Break on the golden shore.

Safe in the arms of Jesus

Safe on His gentle breast,

There by His love o’ershaded,

Sweetly my soul shall rest.