Tuesday, August 12, 2014

His Eye is On the Sparrow

 I had never heard the song "His Eye is on the Sparrow" until this past year, and now the melody of that beloved old hymn plays through my head with almost every breath I take. I once heard that the Old Testament Hebrew name for God "Yahweh" when spoken correctly was like the inhale and exhale of one complete breath. In essence, that the name of God is on each breath we take. How comforting to know that God's name is in every single breath we all take! The sparrow song is like that for me. It is a constant reminder that God is always watching me and that He is in every breath I take.
 The comfort I found in the sparrow song began earlier in the spring when we encountered a baby sparrow who had taken a tumble from her nest and was mortally wounded. She knew she wanted to live this life and struggled to fly away. I wanted to help her, but I soon realized her life was near it's end. I made a comfortable nest for her and placed her in it. She was fully aware and continued her struggle to live this life she so desperately wanted. Her struggles soon gave way to shallow breathing, slow breath in . . . slow breath out. I stroked her feathers to let her know she was not alone and I prayed that God would take her soon. The sparrow, however, would not lose this life without a fight. Soon she closed her eyes, slow breath in . . . slow breath out. My own salty tears streamed down my face as I watched this sweet little creature in her final moments on earth. I continued to pray and I gave thanks for the gift of this little bird's life.  I also gave thanks for the gift of being able to be with the sparrow in her final moments. Although the day had been previously calm, I was suddenly caught by surprise by a huge gust of wind swirling around me and blowing through the trees. In that same instant the sparrow lifted her wings and flapped them while her final breath exhaled out of her body. I knew at that moment that God himself had taken her spirit home and that the sparrow had a new life with her Creator. It was a holy moment that I will never forget and it is one that leaves my eyes still brimming with tears as I recall that very special memory of God's love for all of his creation.
   In comparison to the life of the sparrow, so it is with us. God loves us with such a love that we can't even begin to fathom it's depth or extremity. We struggle to hold on to this life, and yes, we were meant to lead this life, but God has a plan for our lives that is far greater than we could ever imagine or dream of. We worry and we fret over the smallest of details. We try to measure up to expectations  that are of this world and we fear that we may never meet the mark. We struggle to lead this life not the life that God intended for us. We fight to keep what we have here instead of throwing caution to the winds of trust and faith and allowing ourselves to soar into the life that God really intended for us to lead. But first we have to let go, and let God.
   In verbally sharing my story of the baby sparrow, I was asked if I had ever heard of the song "His Eye is On the Sparrow."  Although I had not heard of the song, I looked up the lyrics and found them very comforting.

Why should I feel discouraged?
Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches over me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me
I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me
What is so comforting to me in these lyrics and what we can all find peace in is that God watches over all of us just as he watches over all of his creation. In Matthew Jesus says, "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 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29–31).
I have recently started upon a new path that God is calling me to. This new call has been wrought with my own feelings of uncertainty, unworthiness, and fear. As I have tried to place fear, worry and uncertainty aside, and as I have trusted God, he has been there, holding my hand, showing me that he is watching over me as he leads me into this new life. Although I have always known that God loves me, and although it is not necessary to have symbols of God's love, God gives them to us anyway and wants us to enjoy them and find them as a source of encouragement. Throughout this past year, the sparrow has been a very big symbol of God's love for me and has brought me great encouragement and peace as I begin a new journey in my life.  For each of us, God indeed watches over  us and wants to lead us on the path he has planned for us.  As much as we may worry over our lives and what paths we are to follow, we have only to remember that "his eye is on the sparrow," and know and trust that he is watching over each of us too. May you see your own symbols of God's love and encouragement surrounding you in your lives  and know that he is always with you, watching you and leading you to the life you were always meant to lead.
 ***Photos taken this January 2014***