Sunday, July 23, 2006

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Chorus:
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.

“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.

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.

Words: Civilla D. Martin (1866-1948); Music: Charles H. Gabriel (1856-1932)

The song, "His Eye is on the Sparrow," was made popular by singer Ethel Waters who loved the song so much that she used its name as the title for her autobiography. It was based on the words of Jesus, “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… So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)

The words to this song were not inspired by someone who always lived on the sunny side of life. Mrs. Civilla D. Martin (1866-1948) wrote the lyrics in 1905 after she and her husband visited friends by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle in Elmira, New York. These were true saints; Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nearly twenty years, and her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Dr. and Mrs. Martin noticed that despite their afflictions, the Doolittle’s lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while with the Doolittle’s, Dr. Martin commented to his wife about their bright hopefulness, so they asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and his wife. The hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” was the outcome of that experience - the poem was written that very night and sent the next day to Charles Gabriel who put the words to music.

2 comments:

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

That's a beautiful hymn about one of my favorite sayings of Jesus: "So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

My next favorite saying is "Consider the lilies of the field..."

Walker said...

Oh yes, one of my favorites, too! I'm going to have Mark Wayne do that for me. Thanks for reminding me of that song.

I also like almost every one of the Anglican hymns like "All creatures of our God and King."

Hey check out my m-in-law's Web site for some cool old country hymns. (Of course these are one-take productions! haha. Expect flaws.) http://www.pentecostalsongs.com