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His Eye is On the Sparrow

I’m not much of a naturalist. I love the outdoors, though, and it is often there I hear from God – in the orange hues of a sunset, the greens of a lush forest, even in the chirping of the birds.

But a naturalist? No. This sad fact was recently drilled home while visiting friends in northern California. During a forest hike, one member of our small group, would stop and tell us, “That’s a ground iris.” Or a little further down the path, “That’s a yellow monkeyflower.” She even pointed out nice green moss. Seriously, that was its name: nice green moss. Why nice is in its name, I’ll never fathom.

When she heard a bird, she could distinguish its call from that of another variety. While my ears would never become that attuned, hearing the birds’ song comforted me. The Bible mentions birds many times, but the verses that bring joy to my heart are: 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? 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? Matthew 6:25-26

I kept my thoughts quiet while the gentle and imposing stature of the forest convicted me and humbled me, as I crunched atop its brush and beneath its canopy. God whispered to me while she named more calls from above, “How much more do I care for you if I care for the birds?” I felt God’s overwhelming attention to nature – the wide variety of species, the magnificent colors, the whimsical calls from the winged creatures on top of the forest floor. If he cares for the tiniest of creatures, I don’t need to worry. He knows my needs.

I don’t rely on this truth enough, since food, garments and shelter are readily available where I live. Yet, we give up so much in our rush to have them, that sometimes we forget the Provider of all our needs.

Something holy happened for me during that walk. The psalmist speaks of the heavens declaring God’s glory, and I wanted to shout out my thanks to God. I dared not to prevent my hiking group from wondering if I had temporarily lost grip on reality. The walk and the friend who pointed out nature’s diversity taught me something about dependence and prayer. By seeing the variety of God’s handiwork, it was as if the forest itself had sung its praises to God. Walking through that wilderness was, for me, like walking into the hushed reverence of a cathedral.

God was there in that forest. And his eye was on the sparrow…a little sparrow named Myra.

Dear Heavenly Father, we proclaim you as our Provider. Worry, striving and fretting are not from you, but because you care for us. Please give us the strength to trust you with all that concerns us and weighs heavily on our hearts. When anxiety becomes overwhelming, give us the peace of Christ that transcends our human understanding. Thank you for keeping your eye on us. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Who am I? I am Known!

Your life is a story, a beautiful tale crafted by the Author of Life, the God who scattered the stars in the sky, moved mountains into place and walked on water. Your story is no less more magnificent since its beginning is in love, filled with hope and rooted in grace.

Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like an epic love story. There are beds to be made, clothes to wash, groceries to purchase. God doesn’t seem close in the midst of those mundane tasks. Yet, 1 Corinthians 8:3 tells us: But whoever loves God is known by God. So even in the most ordinary parts, God’s glory resides.

There will be places where drama rises and life becomes confusing. Sadness overtakes us. Sometimes life is just downright strange. We find it hard to believe our loving Father would write this into our story. We want to slash those places, fast forward over them or skip ahead to the last chapter where it clearly states:, and they lived happily ever after.

Because He knows us, we can always be certain of this: The Author is good and we are loved.  Whether life is good or bad, when we belong to Him, God prevails. No page in our story ever goes to waste.

Because God knows everything, nothing you face will hinder His ability to help you; nothing will catch Him by surprise. Nothing you fear will be too big for God’s strength; and nothing you do in His name is ever done in vain.

When we find ourselves lost in the deepest night, He asks to trust, to wait on him, to stand in the middle of the life’s ambiguities, known by him. God is at work in us creating and molding something beautiful in the midst of our brokenness. If we were strangers to Him, there would be no hope for who we are or who we are becoming.

God is still holding the pen, writing His story in the world. He is not finished with the part that is your narrative. Wherever you are today, it is not your final page. He is always with us, working to make us the best we can be. Trusting the Author, we can stand tall, confident in his love and triumphant in the life He writes for us. After all, the best parts of God’s story are filled with people who started out lost, but are now His.

Question: How does this truth change the way you think about yourself?

Who am I? I am Redeemed!

God always keeps his promises. He promised he will always be with us, for us and never leave us. Yesterday, today and forever, we are encircled by more love than we could ever imagine.

Christ’s cross without the empty tomb would have never changed the world. In the resurrection, amazing grace rained down upon the earth. He was coming to us long before we were born. He was coming to us when we didn’t even know we needed him. The Lord himself has been claiming us for all eternity.  His promise continues: despite every possible obstacle, the redemptive work of Christ is flourishing still.

Ephesians 1:7 tells us, “In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Christ emptied himself so we could be filled.  He chooses us and says, “I love you. You belong to me now.” Christ laid down his life as a bridge – inviting people to walk across into relationship with God.

We are no longer our sin or struggles, but are redeemed by the One who makes us his children. His sacrifice allows us to bring our brokenness and hurts and lay them at the cross. We can place our confusion, fear and questions there.

Because of the empty tomb, he meets us where we are. He knows our circumstances. He understands our needs and our desires. Full of compassion, God is our companion, caring for us in ways we can’t comprehend. Everyday, always.

Question: How does this truth change the way you think about yourself?