We have a comfy chair in our dining room that faces out onto our back garden. I will often sit in it, pray and reflect. I find it therapeutic, relaxing and a place to be still, reflect, quieten my heart and talk and listen to God.
I was in my chair looking out at the garden earlier this week as the sun rose and the garden began to come to life. The lawn was white with frost and I watched as the garden birds began their day. Jobs to do I’m sure. Food to find. Water to drink. Lives to live. The robin was actually the first up and on his perch viewing his domain from the top of the old clothes line pole in the middle of the laurel bush. He’s such a friendly chap and often comes close when we’re in the garden.
The garden continued to come alive with magpies, thrushes, starlings, blackbirds, wood pigeons, chaffinches, gold finch’s, blue tits, all foraging for food, looking for worms and taking a drink from the bird bath, whilst keeping an eye out for intruders including our neighbours black and white cat!
After some time it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen a single sparrow. Perhaps they were having a lie-in? We have many sparrows in our garden and only the other day I’d watched about a dozen of them bathing and playing in our bird bath in the early evening dusk. Taking it in turns to bathe they seemed such happy creatures without a worry or care in the world. They were almost like children gathered around a paddling pool on a summers day.
Is it possible that the common sparrow has grasped God’s word better than us and has something to teach us? Jesus said;
““Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
It struck me that the smallest of birds, who is unable to compete against the larger magpies and pigeons, still has enough to eat and drink. God provides for them too. In fact the Bible suggests that God even finds the sparrow a home (Psalm 84:3), such is His paternal care for them.
His eyes are on the sparrow
As I watched the garden continue to buzz with activity (by this point the local squirrels had also risen from their slumber), the lyrics of a song came to my mind:
“His eye is on the sparrow and He watches over me.” *
Jesus also said;
“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)
Where is God?
Sometimes it may feel like God is absent and that He is unaware of the challenges we’re facing, however the God who notices what we would consider an almost worthless garden bird, also sees our lives too. (I wrote a whole blog post on this entitled ‘God sees.’)
God sees everything. He knows our circumstances and everything that you and I are facing. Yes – right now. God sees. God knows. God cares. God is at work even when we don’t think anything is happening.
His eyes are on the sparrow
Just as God’s eyes are on the sparrow and not one of them is forgotten, so He also sees you and hasn’t forgotten you either. He knows exactly what you need but, because He is God, He may at times use the challenging seasons we each experience, to hone, refine and strengthen our faith and trust in Him. That’s never an easy season to be in but the long-term benefits are huge. So stick with it. Trust Him.
The pandemic and lock down has created all kinds of pressures and challenges. Some have lost loved ones and even been ill themselves. Others have lost jobs, careers, businesses and income. Whilst a vaccine is now available (praise God!) the future remains uncertain for many. People continue to be anxious, fearful, lonely and concerned about themselves and their families. The psalmist wrote;
“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (Psalms 37:25)
Remember that He is your provider
In these uncertain and challenging days. Remember that God is your provider. He is the One to look to for everything that you need. Everything practically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Try not to worry. Look to Him. Choose to be thankful for what you do have rather than what you don’t.
During my lifetime I’ve experienced some incredible exhilarating and fulfilling seasons but I’ve also faced many challenges and had seasons of loss, lack, health worries, anxieties and fear. I’ve had seasons where I haven’t known which way to turn or what to do next. God has proved Himself faithful every single time.
Perhaps you need to remind yourself of the promise that God made to Israel – for it is a promise for you today:
““Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:3-4)
That is the truth and a promise from the God who never breaks His promise. He is faithful to every single one of them.
And finally – never forget this…
“Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31)
His eye is on the sparrow and He watches over you.
* “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” (Lauren Hill & Tanya Blount).