Last month a friend sent me a video. (Thank you so much, dear friend.) I listened, curious about the artist. The song was a familiar one. When the song was over, I closed the window and didn’t think about it anymore. But God wasn’t through.
That weekend, my daughter and I watched a movie in which the protagonist faced doubts after arguing with a colleague. As writers and readers, we know the enemy’s gibes must hold a grain of truth. Guess what? Every point the coworker threw made perfect sense. The darts penetrated, wounding the fragile seed of hope.
Later, standing at a graveside, the same coworker asked the protagonist to say a few words to the family. As the camera closed in, you could see the emotional turmoil on his face as he struggled with his doubts and fears. When he spoke, he recited:
“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.”
When Singing Turns to Sighing
Oh, how I commiserated with this character. I, too, cling to hope when everything around me screams the opposite. Hope and courage have been hard victories, for the enemy would have me—you to believe his lies.
“Haven’t you prayed long enough?”
“The answers haven’t come in the past, so why should they come now?”
“Why should things change?”
“Why praise Him?”
“Face it. He’s not interested in your health. Get over it.”
Knowing what this character had endured for the past two years and the battle now raging inside him, I knew he didn’t speak the words to the family alone. The truth within the memorized lines reinforced his own flagging hope. And like all good Christ-centered fiction, the truth of the moment didn’t stop there. The camera view shifted, and the focus became my life. I forgot about my present questions as I reviewed my past. Meditating on His work in my life soon became an act of worship. As I drew near to Him, the sighing for answers ceased. My heart filled with song once again.
The person who has the habit of hope also has the habit of remembering. Hope needs memories the way a writer needs notes. This is partly because hope depends so much on imagination. Our images of the future are sweepings from our remembrances of things past. If we expect to keep hope alive, we need to keep memory alive. Happy memories of good things we hoped for that were fulfilled, and grateful memories of bad things survived.Lewis Smedes, Keeping Hope Alive
Throughout the day, information gets stuffed in our spiritual wells, clogging our praises. Our songs turn to sighs. We must dig the well every day as we draw near, giving Him our heartaches and troubles. But let us not stop there as we often do, but praise Him until our cares fall away, and we are renewed.
How can we do this in a world gone crazy? By finding what helps us to remember His goodness. Along with reading the Bible, my triggers are writing, music/songs, and nature. If I don’t write, if I don’t listen to songs, or if I forget to rest outside, I miss that day’s blessing.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches (Psalm 63: 5-6 KJV).
When we meditate on God’s goodness in our pasts, we ignite hope for our futures. Find your place to remember and then draw near with a grateful heart.
He Watches Over You and Me
If there has ever been a time, we need hope in our lives, it is now.
Christ is my Hope, the Anchor of my soul. Steadfast and True. He will not drag, leaving me to wander atop the waves amid the storm. He will draw near and rescue me or ride out the storm with me. How do I know this? Because He’s been faithful to me in the past.
Today, if you’re struggling to remember God’s faithfulness, start with His Truth and deeds in your life. I cannot promise things will get better in the here and now. It doesn’t always work out that way. But I will promise you of God’s love and care for us until the day we stand with Him in eternity. Until that day… His eye is on the sparrow, and He watches you and me.
The Story Behind the Song
Civilla D. Martin wrote the song after speaking with the Doolittles of Elmira, New York. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for twenty years, and Mr. Doolittle used a wheelchair to get to and from work each day. Seeing their joy, Mr. Martin asked of the “bright hopefulness” in their lives. Mrs. Doolittle answered, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” The next day, Civilla D. Martin sent the poem to Charles Hutchinson Gabriel to write the music.
The third verse is hard to find on video, but it was the one I needed to hear. The moment I heard “when songs give place to sighing“ everything fell into place. Here’s the complete song. I’ve highlighted some of the words. Enjoy.
His Eye Is on the Sparrow
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.
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.
“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender words I hear; and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubt and fear. 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.
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.
His Eye Is on the Sparrow © Civilla D. Martin Public Domain
“I draw the closer to Him; from care He sets me free: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” ~ Civilla D. Martin #hope @GailJohnson87Tweet
27 thoughts on “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”
Jesus is our blessed hope. Lovely encouragement for these times. Thanks, Gail.
He is! Thanks, Karen. I recently enjoyed your post, Trying Times, Glorious Triumphs, when it popped up in my memories. Thank you for your encouraging words, too.
I did look it up on YouTube. 💖 Beautifully done!
For some reason in my phone it often will say “video unavailable “ and then shows me other choices…don’t know if it is a glitch or what. Thank you for sharing, though!
You’re welcome. Glad you were able to listen to it. Have a great weekend! 💗
Unfortunately the video you posted has been removed…
Shauna, I’m not sure why you can’t see it. It’s still posted and playing for me. If it’s still i.possible for you to see, you can view it on YouTube. Thanks for reading.
I appreciate modern praise songs to an extent, but I dearly love the old hymns and songs like this one. There have been several artists that recorded it, but when I read the words, I hear the voice of one of our pastors from about 25 years ago, who broke out in song during one of his sermons. Another time he sang the whole song as a special music presentation, accompanied by his wife on the piano . (Miss those days…)
Thank you for sharing and bringing back those memories.
I, too, love to read the words of old hymns. There is truth in every line.
Thanks so much for this. Was a timely and encouraging read. ❤
You’re welcome. I’m glad you were encouraged. Thank you for reading. Blessings. 💗
Beautiful. He is faithful.
This is a very good post. I love that song! So uplifting and encouraging no matter what we’re going thru. Thanks for sharing.
You are welcome, Carole. I think our hearts are needing encouragement. I know mine is. And God hasn’t disappointed me. Blessings.
Amen. What comfort and peace I find in knowing His eye is on the sparrow and His eye is on me. 🙂
No better peace or comfort, Melissa! Blessings. ❤
Good morning, Gail, this post spoke loudly to me. Yes, more than ever we need hope. In our home with our youngest diagnosed with Crohn’s and my husband at his police job, some days it is a fight to hold onto hope, that beautiful way we get to imagine the future. Trusting and praising Him in that balance of allowing the mourning, the losses, the venting of stress. Thank you for all the work you did to give us this information and inspiration today. Love in Christ, Julie
Good morning, Julie. I’m so sorry about your son difficulties. I will be praying for you and your family. May God’s peace surround you all, and hope fill your hearts. Love to you, dear sister. 💗
Thank you so much for prayers. Love right back to you, Gail.
Hi Julie, I’m sorry to hear about your son. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 21, I’m 55 now. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I’ve lived a happy, healthy and productive life despite the disease.
Oh thank you so much Jill. Our son Jackson is 13, right at the time puberty was beginning 😦 i truly appreciate you offering yourself as a resource. May God bless you today. Love in Christ, Julie
I’ll keep Jackson in my prayers. Email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so very much.
A song with great reminders. And a favorite of mine.
Good morning, Stephanie. It is one of my favorite hymns. Such comforting words!
“When we meditate on God’s goodness in our pasts, we ignite hope for our futures.” These words spoke to me this morning, Gail. Thank you for this beautiful post and the wonderful video. xo
Good morning, Jill. Thank you. I’ve been meditating quite a bit here lately. It’s amazing what we remember when we put forth an intentional effort to do so. 💗
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