His Eye is on the Sparrow

We had an unexpected visitor to our store the other day…a sparrow somehow managed to get inside our store over the weekend, after we closed on Saturday. We assume it found its way in through a small vent, in an attempt to get out of the heavy rain, and couldn’t find its way back out. We don’t know how long it was trapped inside, but by the time my husband found him, its leg was caught, and it was unable to fly away. It was scared, dehydrated, and weak. My husband gently and carefully extracted its leg, and I got a small dish of water. The sparrow was listless, and its breathing was shallow. We feared the worst. Putting small drops of water on his fingertips and holding it up to the bird’s beak, David finally got it to drink some water. After several attempts, the bird started perking up, and finally flapped its wings and flew off!

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I was reminded of Jesus’s words in Matthew 10: 29-31–Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Sparrows

Sometimes, we pray for guidance, or protection, or safety when we know we will be facing certain trials or long journeys. And we should acknowledge known dangers and our continual dependence on God. But how many times does God guide and protect us without our awareness!? How many times do we, like this little sparrow, find ourselves in an unfamiliar or dangerous situation and wonder whether anyone even knows where we are? We struggle, only to find ourselves caught– helpless and without much hope. God’s eyes are always on us– wherever we are, whatever our circumstances. His love is unchanging and sure. And sometimes, He sends help in the most unlikely ways and times. Sometimes, He chooses to work through US to help the most unlikely candidates– even a sparrow!

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God gave us the opportunity to save this little sparrow– and He gives us opportunities throughout each day to help those around us– to encourage, give, protect, defend, support, and even “save” them as the arms, hands, feet, and voice of God in the world. Similarly, He sends others to cheer us, to warn us, to come alongside us, and to “save” us when it seems like all hope is lost.

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Lord, for today, I pray that you will open my eyes to the “sparrow” moments– whether I am the one offering help, or the one who needs to accept it. May I see my worth, not in my circumstances, but in my relationship to you. May I see others as precious and worthy of care, respect, and love. Thank you for sending a little sparrow to remind me how much you love us all.

The Birds of the Air

Yesterday, I was working in the Toddler Room at church.  The children had been playing and singing, when suddenly, our attention was caught by something happening outside our window.  Hundreds of birds were gathering in the front lawn and in the parking lot of the church, resting and re-organizing for the next leg of their long migration.  Birds were swooping in, landing, hopping about, lining up, changing places with other birds, circling in low flight, rearranging, and chattering before the entire flock took off and headed south.  The children gathered by the window in fascination for a few minutes, before returning to their play.

afterglow art backlit birds
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I was reminded of the passage in Matthew 6:

25 “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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Ironically, yesterday was the first day of “falling back” from daylight savings time to “normal” time– literally trying to add a single hour to our lives by changing our clocks!

close up photography of wristwatch
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The birds were not worried about clocks, or falling leaves.  They were not nervously searching about for seeds or worms or bread crumbs to eat.  They didn’t compare feathers or try to ostracize birds who were “different” in size or coloring or age.  Each year, the birds fly hundreds of miles, over lakes and fields and cities, to get to their “winter” home.  They repeat the process each spring to get to their “summer” home.  God has created them with a special GPS that not only gets them where they need to go, but helps them find food and resting places along the way– including the lawn and parking lot of our church!  And this is only one of thousands of flocks of birds.  They arrived, rested, regrouped, and left.  They didn’t collide with another incoming flock; they didn’t arrive upset or confused about the repaving that occurred this summer.  They didn’t need reservations or recalculations, credit or debit cards, cell phones with wi-fi hotspots, or pilots’ licenses.  God did not forget about them, abandon them, or set them up for failure.

The birds still have to face the long journey– they must gather food each day; rest each night; they must brave the very real dangers along the way.  Not every bird will reach its destination.  Some will be injured or become food for predators; some will succumb to bad weather or old age.  Some will even be blown off course or become separated from the rest of the flock.

flock of birds flying above sky during sunset
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God doesn’t promise that we will never face danger, or that we will never have to struggle.  What He does promise is that we can trust Him to always be present and that He will provide all that is sufficient for us to follow Him.  There is nothing we can do to add an hour to our life– and nothing we can do to erase, amend, or alter His Love for us!

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