As I gazed at this lovely picture, representational of Christ caring for the sparrow, my mind was immediately drawn to Matthew 10: 29-31 where Jesus reminds us that not a single sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge. I then read the verse accompanying the picture and thought of the “winters” that many women experience, none colder and more isolating than that of widowhood.
The widow is experiencing her winter of life alone, learning to navigate unknown roads iced over by fear and apprehension. There are the roads of unfamiliarity with many chores now fallen on her shoulders, forced changes in lifestyle, and the sorrow of loss coupled with the isolation of traveling life solo, to name a few. It begs the question, “Does Jesus care?” Dear sister, the sparrow is a very insignificant bird, not esteemed by the general population. In fact, they’re more often thought of as pests. Yet, Jesus used this bird, low on the pecking order, to remind you that not a one of them falls but that He sees it. Then He reminds us that we are of more value than many sparrows. The Scriptures go beyond that and have specific verses relational to the widow and God’s loving care for her and His stern warnings to anyone who “messes” with her. Isn’t that wonderful! Think of some of the widows in the Bible and of how God protected them. Naomi had to walk many miles over dangerous terrain with her young daughter-in-law, herself a widow, to reach her homeland. God provided protection for her and she safely made that arduous trip without molestation or theft befalling her. God sent Boaz into the life of Ruth who, as a young attractive widow, was vulnerable to the whims of the tough, young men who worked in the fields. Boaz, their boss, told them not to bother her…and they didn’t. The widow of Zaraphath was facing a sure death and God sent the Prophet Elijah to her and she had food to sustain her through a drought which resulted in death to many. To make this widow’s story more poignant, she wasn’t even a Jew, but she, just like the tiny sparrow, was loved and protected by God. God led the Prophetess Anna to the temple where she lived and was taken care of for the rest of her life and was rewarded by getting to hold the baby Jesus in her arms. Jesus oversaw the care of his widowed mother, Mary, and entrusted her into the care of the Apostle John before He died. There are those of you who have children who want to assist you and I encourage you to not let your pride disallow their doing so. While it is understandable that you don’t want to become totally dependent upon them, remember that God might just want to use them, as He did Jesus, to help care for you when you are bereft of your husband, thus reaping the blessings of God to those who help the widow. There are countless stories of contemporary widows who have trusted God and He has used His children to help meet the needs of these precious women.
When the cold winter of life envelopes you and its accompanying storms threaten to undo you, remember that God’s love for you is immeasurable and that He has you safely sheltered, keenly watching your every move and He will not let you perish. Rest assured that His care will sustain you throughout this life and extend beyond the grave when you, too, will enjoy all of the infinite pleasures of Heaven. Wear that assurance like a coat, letting it bring warmth and comfort to your soul.
In one of my readings I learned that the composer, Mrs. Civilla Martin had gone to visit a bedridden friend in Elmira, New York. Mrs. Martin asked her bedridden friend is she ever got discouraged because of her condition. Her friend replied, "Mrs. Martin, how can I be discouraged when my Heavenly Father watches over each little sparrow and I know He loves and cares for me?" On her journey back home Mrs. Martin completed the writing of the song as have come to know and love and which has been a source of encouragement to many, HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW.