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His Eye Is on the Sparrow

By Hymn Stories


      "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." -Matthew 10:19-31

      "How can I be discouraged when my heavenly Father watches over each little sparrow, and I know He loves and cares for me?"

      These words, spoken by a godly invalid woman to Mrs. Civilla Martin, author of this text, were the inspiration that prompted the writing of this favorite gospel song. Recalled Mrs. Martin:

      "I wrote the song 'His Eye Is on the Sparrow' in the company of a bedridden saint in the city of Elmira, New York. I was reading and singing to her and during our conversation, I chanced to ask her if she did not sometimes get discouraged. This is when she responded about God's care for the sparrow. Her answer prompted me to find paper and pencil, and in a very short time I had completed the poem."

      Mrs. Martin was the wife of an evangelist/teacher/pastor, Dr. Walter S. Martin. She wrote the "sparrow song" in 1904, along with another well-known favorite, "God Will Take Care of You," which she did in collaboration with her husband. Both of these gospel songs have enjoyed world-wide acceptance since that time.

      The poem was sent to Charles Gabriel, one of the most prolific gospel song composers during the early twentieth century. Gabriel not only furnished the music for this text as well as a number of others, but he also wrote both words and music for many of his own songs, often using the pseudonym Charlotte G. Homer. Some of the Charles Gabriel songs still widely sung today include: "O That Will Be Glory," "He Lifted Me," "My Savior's Love," and "Send the Light."

      It is interesting that our Lord chose the least valuable of all birds, the sparrow, to teach a profound truth. In God's eyes, no one is insignificant! He is vitally concerned with even the details of our lives; "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." The Bible also uses another bird to teach this inspiring truth: "Those who hope in the LORD ... will soar on wings like eagles" (Isa. 40:31). With an awareness of God's concern for our lives and the promise of His enabling power to five victoriously, "Why should I feel discouraged?"

      Make the truth of this Scripture passage your life's directive:

      "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines ... yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." - Habakkuk 3:17-18

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