Do you know the beautiful hymn – His Eye is On the Sparrow – written by Civilla Durfee Martin in 1905? These words have been reassuring to many people over the years:
“Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart be lonely and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is he; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”
I read that Civilla Martin and her minister husband, Dr. William Martin, visited friends, the Doolittle’s, in Elmira New York. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for over 20 years while Mr. Doolittle was restricted to a wheelchair, needing assistance to move in and out of it. Yet, the Doolittle’s were always happy and positive. Civilla’s husband commented on their bright spirits one day and Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was “His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me.”
The hymn was written out of that conversation. In the Scriptures we hear Jesus saying: “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
And another time he asked: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31
We are in troubled times right now. Many of us are isolated from our family and friends, from our church family, our coworkers and from our lives as we know and enjoy them. But that’s not the worst part of our crisis. Our anxiety rises as we watch the numbers of people who are infected by this contagious virus, and as we see the numbers of deaths go up. Some of us now know people who are sick or who have died. We try to stay positive but it is difficult at times.
Don’t forget, we are still in the season of Lent – the season of wilderness living. And it looks like it may be extended a little while. Oh, yes! Easter will come! You can count on it. But the celebration might be delayed just a tad.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, take comfort in the words of our Lord Jesus who pointed out that God is aware even of the sparrows. He keeps count of every one that falls. He makes sure the birds have food. He knows every hair on your head (or, in some cases every hair you used to have on your head).
The point is this: if God is so concerned about every little sparrow, every thing that happens to those little birds, then God is certainly aware and concerned about you and me. If his eye is on the sparrow, then know He watches over you. He cares for you and loves you. Our heavenly Father is with you whatever you go through.
Another point I want to make is that while we are all feeling anxious, our response, as God’s people, can be an assurance to others who are searching for peace and faith. What if our faith in these times of trouble helped someone else find faith as well?
Let us pray:
God of the sparrow,
God of all creation,
God who formed us and called us each by name,
Who knows and loves us all with an immeasurable love,
Make your presence known in a sweet and powerful way.
Calm our fears and give us peace in the midst of this wilderness.
Help us to trust that you know everything that happens,
That there is no place we can be where you are not,
And give us the love and faith to pass your peace to others
So, they too will know your abiding love and will trust in you as well.
O Lord, make me a channel of your peace.
… do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.