His Eye Is on the Sparrow

His Eye Is on the Sparrow – the hymn by that title always comes to mind as I think about birds visiting feeders in winter and those starting their journeys north. No guarantee of safety, trying to maintain a steady pace, likely unaware of a
watchful eye (unless it is that of a hawk) – sounds like the human condition, doesn’t it? It was no surprise to me that this timeless tune was born from a very human condition.


In 1904, Civilla Durfee Martin visited a friend with a long-term illness. According to Wikipedia, Civilla’s friend said, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” Inspired by her friend’s strong faith, Civilla wrote a heart-felt poem. It became a song in 1905, and 116 years later we still seek it out to soothe our souls.


Listen to the song in your mind’s ear.*

  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.

The words are a melding of friends’ words – friends on earth and one in heaven. For Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, “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?” and in Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” And in Psalm 32:8 we learn that “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”


Rest assured, the Lord watches us in a loving, caring, and guiding way because we are critically important to Him. We are valued always. He watches over us during both the difficult and the easy times we’re sure to face before reaching our Heavenly home. So, before that time comes, let’s honor and make Him proud of our life-on-earth journey!

*If you don’t know the tune, please Google it. You’re sure to find a rendition you like. Here is a version by Haley Montgomery that is beautiful!

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