Jun 7, 2015

Praising Through The Pain // His Eye Is On The Sparrow


His Eye Is On The Sparrow

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.  Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." 
(Luke 12:6-7)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his ispan of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(Matthew 6:25-33)
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 I don't know about anyone else, but no matter how often these verses are repeated to me -- whether by an encouraging friend, a song like "His Eye Is On The Sparrow", or a devotional -- they still dig deep within, revealing areas in which I lack faith that God truly loves me more than the sparrows and the lilies. But it is so true!

For many years, I struggled on and off with worry and an anxious heart.  The ugly face of anxiety appeared in different ways such as being a perfectionist because I feared letting anyone see my insecurities and weaknesses,  fear of failure (in a job or relationship, for example), uncertainty about the future and the things I cannot foresee or plan, and people-pleasing because of a deep-seeded fear of being unworthy or unable to be loved because of my faults. In the past four years, God has tenderly worked through all of these areas in a story that can only be written by the Author of Life. He has brought rest to my weary mind, heart, and soul. I began slowly (and sometimes two steps forward and one step back) to better see God as both a righteous and powerful King, but also as a loving and compassionate Father who calls me His beloved daughter. This realization gave me worth in a way that none of my other efforts could ever provide. My worth is not grounded in what I have done, but what God has done. It is not grounded in who I am, but who's I am. And this truth made all the difference. 

But old habits die hard, unfortunately. And though I have learned these unshakeable truths that truly bring peace over my anxiety, there are still seasons in which I need to remind myself again and again. And here I am in such a season. I find myself in a time of great excitement as I draw near to four months until I marry my best friend Greg, but it is also a time in which Worry and Anxiety are trying to poke their ugly little faces once again. As I mentioned in my post last week, so many anxious thoughts have entered my mind in the last month about my future job, my future role as a wife, and just the overall future. And because there is so much that lies unforeseen, it is easy for me to start to listen to the lies of Worry and Anxiety once again. They're like the mean girls in school that pretend to be your friend, but then tease you and lie to you for their own gain. They make you feel good at first by letting you feel sorry for yourself, but then you're left with a heart that is aching and a mind that is racing late into the night. In these times, my vision is myopic -- I only see what is in front of me: Change. Uncertainty. Deadlines. Applications. etc. etc. Rather, my heart's cry should sing "Be Thou My Vision", a far-sighted bird's eye view of God's hand at work even in the days it is not visible. 

As I read through the above verses today and listened to "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" throughout the morning, I was so comforted in God's ability to provide for our every need, big or small. If He loves His creation so much as to dress the flowers in their radiant hues and provides for the sparrows that were considered a cheap sacrifice during Bible times, how much more does He provide and love us humans, who He has fashioned into His own image (Genesis 1:26-27)? I'll give you a hint: infinitely more. Abundantly more. Exponentially more. 

 "The birds sing, while we complain and speak of fear and anxiety. The lilies of the field stand tall in their glory, while we wilt and bend before the smallest wind of adversity." (David Wilkerson, Dearly Beloved). I wonder what the sparrows and lilies would say about our worrying if they could speak. This poem does a wonderful job of imagining the conversations:

The very birds reprove thee with all their happy song;
the very flowers teach thee that fretting is wrong.
"Cheer up," the sparrow chirpeth. "Thy Father feedeth me;
think how much He careth, oh lovely child, for thee."

"Fear not," the flowers whisper; "since thus He hath arrayed 
the buttercup and daisy. How canst thou be afraid?"
Then don't you trouble trouble, till trouble troubles you. 
You'll only double trouble, and trouble others too.
(Mark Pearce)

The beautiful hymn, "His Eye Is On The Sparrow", was written in 1905 by a woman named Civilla Martin after meeting a couple named the Doolittles. Mr. D was in a wheelchair and Mrs. D had been bedridden for around twenty years.  Mrs. Martin was amazed at their deep-rooted hope and peace. How could these two individuals, who had experienced so much physical pain still be so full of joy? She asked the couple and Mrs. Doolittle's response became the oft-repeated refrain: "His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me". (She Reads Truth, Hymns II)

I am not saying life is easy and the Bible definitely doesn't say it either. Life is hard, and sometimes, life is really hard. Worries come. Anxiety comes. Fears come. But (and this is a big but!) this is not the end of the story. In those times, talk to the God who dresses the lilies and feeds the sparrows. Talk to the God who hears the cries of the lonely and forgotten (Psalm 68:6). Talk to the God who redeems the lost (Ezekiel 34:16; Luke 15:1-7). Talk to the God who rescues  (Psalm 107; Psalm 91:14-16). Talk to the God who loves with a sacrificial and unfailing love (Psalm 36:7). Talk to the God who will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Trust in this powerful God and watch those worries, fears, and anxieties lose their hold on you.

  1. Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
    When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
    • Refrain:
      I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
      For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
  2. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
  3. Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
    When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
    I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 Check out my favorite versions of this timeless and truth-filled hymn:




2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these Truths that I need continual reminding of! It was just what my faithless humanity needed this afternoon. We just have to keep fighting the good fight & trust our loving Father King. It is a very hard thing for me to put into practice lately, but I know my merciful Lord will get me through. Thank you so much for your prayers for Dan & I - they mean SO much to me - & know I am praying for you & Greg.

    Blessings,
    -Bess-

    “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
    -1 Peter 5:7

    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you with my righteous right hand.”
    -Isaiah 41:10

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is so beautiful and just what I needed to hear!! Thank you and God bless you!

    ReplyDelete

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Elle Alice