The Valley Of Baca: The Doctrine of Suffering
Part II

November 2022

“Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them ” —Psalm 84:5

Frances Jane Crosby was born on March 24, 1820, in the village of Brewster, about fifty miles north of New York City. At six weeks old, she developed inflammation of the eyes and within weeks was declared blind. Her father died in November of 1820, when she was only six months old. She was raised by her mother and grandmother. In April 1825, she was examined by an eye surgeon who concluded that her condition was inoperable and that her blindness was permanent. Greatly disappointed, the family had to embrace the reality of little Fanny being blind the rest of her life. I am sure many prayers were offered to God on her behalf, but to no avail. At the age of ten, she started memorizing five chapters of the bible weekly. By age fifteen, she had memorized the Four Gospels, the entire Pentateuch and the book of Proverbs along with Song of Solomon and many of the psalms.

In 1835, at the age of fifteen, she enrolled in the New York School for the Blind and remained there as a student for ten years. There, she learned to play the piano, organ, harp, guitar, and she became a good soprano singer and a teacher. She had started writing poems. In 1843, she got involved with a group to lobby the United States Congress to do more for the blind and was eventually asked to address the United States Senate and, in 1846, to speak at a joint session of the United States Congress advocating support for the education for the blind. As a young woman in her twenties, Fanny met and got acquainted with several presidents of the United States and many other famous leaders advocating for more to be done for the education of the blind. In the 1870s, Fanny started traveling and speaking at Sunday church services and Methodist camp meetings. She shared the platform with the famous Wesleyan/Holiness teacher Phoebe Palmer, who was called the “Mother of the Wesleyan/Holiness” movement. In 1868, Fanny wrote “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.” During the 1870s, she wrote the famous songs, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine,” “I Am Thine, O Lord,” and “All The Way My Savior Leads Me.”

Late in life, Fanny Crosby wrote that if she had her life to live over, she would choose to do it as a blind person. She wrote that in her blindness, she was able to encourage many. She dug a well in her valley of Baca and left a pool of living water for others.

Christ Is Our Supreme Example
The greatest example of this blessed truth is the biblical story of Jesus Christ being willing to die for the sins of the world. In I John 2:2, John wrote, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Christ was willing to experience Gethsemane, to drink the bitter cup, to submit to the betrayal of Judas, mockery by Pilate, beatings by the Roman soldiers, and allowing them to nail him to an old rugged cross. Christ, our blessed Lord, did not desire to drink the bitter cup of Gethsemane but He was willing to suffer for all of mankind if His shed blood would be efficacious for the sins of the whole world.

In I Peter 2:21, the apostle Peter wrote, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” Christ, our precious Lord, was willing to experience the valley of Baca that He might provide for those who are thirsty and dying for living water. Jesus said to the Samaritan lady at the well, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). God can turn our suffering into great blessing.

Four Major Causes For Suffering
In I Peter 4:19, Peter writes, “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing.”

First, suffering comes that people might be able to see the miracle-working power and glory of God. In John 9:1-3, Christ is questioned concerning a man who was blind from birth. They felt the cause was due to him or his parents sinning. In John 9:3, Jesus said, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” Sometimes sickness is allowed so that God will use the healing to testify of the might and majesty of God. Our God still works miracles. Keep on praying and believing (Heb. 13:8).

Second, God permits sickness and suffering in our lives to increase our ability to minister effectively to others. In II Corinthians 1:3-4 Paul writes some profound words, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them who are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” The apostle Paul is making a strong statement concerning ministry. If you have gone through a very difficult time, major sickness, divorce, loss of a job, issues with children, then you will have empathy for those you meet and minister to. You will also be able to advise them with greater wisdom according to God’s word. And you will be able to pray more fervently for them with strong faith and great compassion.

Third, God permits trials, sicknesses, and tribulations to come our way to push us toward the necessity of understanding the sin nature and the message of the cross. In John 15:1-17, we read of the parable of the vine and the branch. In this parable, Christ says, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2). Christ desires each of us to be fruitful and effective in our life and ministry. Many times, there are things in our lives that God wants removed. Hebrews 12:1-2, says, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” Paul insists, in Colossians 3:8, to put off certain things such as anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication. I believe that God allows sickness, trials and tribulations to come our way to cause us to examine ourselves as Paul mentions in I Corinthians 11:28. Hebrews 12:5 speaks of the “chastening of the Lord.” I do believe that unforgiveness keeps many from receiving their healing. Unforgiveness does cause physical sickness, big-time! Fourth, we must always realize that sin and sickness is from the Evil One and is a result of Adam’s fall recorded in Genesis 3. Our bodies, our minds, and our entire world is under the Adamic curse. Paul wrote in Romans 8:22, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” In the verse following, he adds “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” People often suffer due to their sins and their foolishness, and those things can bring bondage, debt, and great pain and sorrow. Don’t ignore Galatians 6:7-8; we reap what we sow.

Finally, remember I Peter 1:7, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire.” And Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” And don’t let go of Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”


You can get in touch with
Frances & Friends by mail at:

Frances & Friends
P.O. Box 262550
Baton Rouge,
LA 70826

OR by Email