Have you ever noticed how often birds appear in the Bible? Owls of all types, eagles, ospreys, hawks, sea gulls and more all figure into God’s story. Noah sent out a raven and then a dove. Elijah was fed by ravens. In Psalm 84 the writer says of heaven: “How lovely is your dwelling place O Lord of hosts!” and then goes on to remark that the sparrow finds a home in the court of the living God and the swallow builds a nest at the altar of the Lord of Hosts.
Jesus however noted that sparrows were cheap. You could buy ten for a penny. But God loves them so much that not a one can fall to the earth without God noticing. To God, we are worth much more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31), and the Lord is watching after us with even greater care.
Civilla Martin was traveling with her preacher husband in 1905 when they stopped for a visit with their close friends, the Doolittles. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedfast for twenty years. Her husband was wheel-chair bound. Yet, their attitudes were inspirational and encouraging. “How could they always be so . . . up?” Civilla asked. Mr. Doolittle replied with a grin: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”
Later that evening Civilla wrote these words that became a gospel hymn:
Why should I feel discouraged?
Why should 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.
The song isn’t in our congregation’s hymnal, but another of Civilla’s is:
Be not dismayed whate’re betide
God will take care of you.