His Eye is On the Sparrows [Devotion]

As I was thinking about a topic for today's devotional. The words of this hymn came to mind.

"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."

   It was originally written in 1905 by Civilla Martin after she had suffered from sickness. Being discouraged in her illness a friend of hers reminded her of Matthew 10:29-31 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." This passage so encouraged her in her sickness that she penned the song. And the passage should encourage believers today as well, especially when you look at the context of the passage. The preceding 13 verses are all about coming persecution! Jesus is sending out His disciples and warning them that they will be "sheep in the midst of wolves." Working through the different types of trials they will face He encourages them by saying in verse 28, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." I know it might not sound as encouraging as God watching cute little birds but what He's saying is in the face of eternity why would we fear those who can only harm us here rather than the one who will judge us eternally. But He immediately follows it up by telling the disciples that even the sparrows don't fall apart from God's knowledge and plan and that we don't have to fear what is to come because we are of more value than many sparrows! While we are to understand our trials and suffering in the light of God's eternal plan that does not mean that God is not with us in our trials. God doesn't say, "well they're getting be with me in heaven so they can suck it up" even in the face of such temporary suffering God is watching us and working it for our good (if we are in Him). Just remember this is a promise to His disciples, as good as a verse like this might look on a coffee mug we should not take lightly the very next verses in which Jesus says, "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." We are faced with two consequences either we fear God and suffer temporarily persecutions on earth or we fear the world and suffer the just punishment for our sin in eternity apart from God. But for those of us who are believers we can take heart that God is with us through the trials of this life. As I look at what we will have to face to bring this movie to the screen (and even after it comes to the screen) I will confess I am daunted and often tempted to be afraid. But I know that I am doing this to honor and obey my Lord and so whatever happens I know that His eyes are on the sparrows and I know He watches me.