“His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”
Six inches outside the window by my desk, a bird feeder hangs from a hook on the cabin’s eave, providing me with an up-close and personal bird-watching experience. A few steps away, a very old red barn feeder holds a bountiful amount of sunflower and safflower seeds, attracting blue jays, chickadees, and nuthatches; but it mostly attracts large numbers of the lowly sparrow.
Gone are the goldfinches of summer, just like our snowbird neighbors and friends who flew or drove to the gulf or the desert, leaving cabin country and traffic up north relatively quiet in winter. This is not Shakespeare’s “winter of our discontent” in words spoken by Richard III. Rather, it’s a quiet time to soak up the solitude and contemplate whose watchful eye is focused on us with compassionate care for our every need with an infinite, everlasting love.
In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:26), the subject of anxiety is raised, and then, simply addressed by guiding us to the window to consider the birds of the air, how they neither plant nor store up and accumulate, and yet they are fed and nourished by our heavenly Father. Happily, I find an extra helping of contentment just birdwatching at the window.
Many birds are mentioned multiple times in the Bible — eagles for their strength and power and doves for their holiness — but sparrows are characterized as worthless, yet God watches over them like they were priceless. Scripture passages speak of discouragement and hope in both the Old and New Testaments.
“I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.” (Psalm102:7)
“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your heavenly Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)
Growing up in our small country congregation, I sang a lot of tenor solos, including this one, but I also recall watching Billy Graham Crusades with my grandparents in front of their small black and white TV and hearing Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea. Both were great baritones whose booming voices sang out the verses asking:
“Why should I feel discouraged … why should my heart be sad? His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me!”
So, as I sit by the window and consider the birds of the air and the same God watching over me and, at the same time, the birds, I’ll also ponder how it is that the poem that follows happened to come to my attention the same day that I enjoyed all the sparrows!
'Hope' is the thing with feathers By Emily Dickinson “Hope” is the thing with feathers - That perches in the soul - And sings the tune without the words - And never stops - at all - And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard - And sore must be the storm - That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm - I’ve heard it in the chillest land - And on the strangest Sea - Yet - never - in Extremity, It asked a crumb - of me.
Editor’s note: Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN) contributor Pastor Rod Anderson also serves on the EPLN Board of Directors. He was the senior pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie.
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