His Eye Is on the Sparrow - Civilla D. Martin

Jesus often used comparisons to illustrate the truth. He said that since God cares when a little sparrow falls, we know that His compassion is much more significant when one of His children is in trouble. "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" (Matthew 10:29-31).


Civilla Martin (1866-1948) described this in the gospel hymn, "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." She assisted her husband, Walter S. Martin, a Baptist preacher and musician, in Bible conferences and revival meetings throughout America. One time they visited a couple in Elmira, New York, who had experienced much physical difficulty. The woman had been bedridden for almost 20 years, and her husband was confined to a wheelchair. Despite their circumstances, they had a vibrant Christian testimony. When asked the secret of her joy, the woman smiled and said, "How can I be discouraged, when my Father watches the sparrows, and I know He loves and cares for me?"


The woman's response so inspired Mrs. Martin that she wrote the words to the beloved hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" by the end of that day. She gave her poem to Charles H. Gabriel, who composed the music for the hymn. He sent a copy to Charles Alexander, Evangelist R. A. Torrey's music director. The song was first sung publicly in London's Royal Albert Hall, where the Torrey-Alexander revival was being held.


The song is a reminder that God cares greatly about His children when they experience pain and suffering. The first stanza assures the Christian that He provides comfort during discouragement and loneliness. Stanza two quotes Christ's uplifting words in John 14:1: Let not your heart be troubled. The last stanza encourages believers to draw close to the Lord during times of temptation and hopelessness (James 4:8). The refrain expresses the joy one can have by trusting in the Lord, no matter what happens in this life.


"His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was probably intended for congregational singing, although it has been widely used as a solo.


Many well-known singers have recorded it, making it one of the most recorded gospel hymns of the 20th century. It became famous when Ethel Waters sang it frequently for the Billy Graham Crusades.


"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7).


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.



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;
His eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me.


Whenever I am tempted, Whenever clouds arise,
When song gives 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.



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