Hymn text by Ada Blenkhorn, 1858-1927. View the full text of this hymn.

sparrow

We sing praise to the Lord for a lot of different things in the hymnal. We sing about His mercy, His grace and goodness, and His love. We sing about His power and might, and we sing about His righteousness. There’s a lot to praise, certainly. Here, we sing about his strength, as we hear in the chorus. Listen:

Exalt his name in loud acclaim;
His mighty pow’r adore!
And humbly bow before him now,
Our King forevermore.

We sing of His strength, and we do so with strong voices. This is the One who “ruleth earth and sky” and commands the “shining planets.” He is the Ruler and the Creator of the universe, and it is His to command. He tells mountains to move, and they move. He tells the ocean to draw back, and it draws back. Nature recognizes its Master, and it obeys. We do our best to obey as well, but we’re nowhere near the perfect servants that nature is. Which is fine, of course; it’s our free will that makes us disobedient at times, but also what makes us worth fighting for and redeeming. When we freely give our will over to our Lord, we are of infinitely more worth than nature, and have so much further that we can progress.

We are the purpose of all of this. “This is my work and my glory,” the Lord said to Moses, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” We exist so that we can have what He has. We are of infinite worth to Him. He knows us, He loves us, and He wants us to grow and progress.

It doesn’t always feel like that, of course. We have difficulty hearing His voice or feeling His presence sometimes, whether it’s because we’ve strayed from Him, or simply because we need time alone to grow. I’ve felt that loneliness, just as you have. It’s difficult to feel like no one is there for you, and that no one understands your sorrow and pain.

Verse three gives us hope:

The little flow’r that lasts an hour,
The sparrow in its fall,
They, too, shall share his tender care;
He made and loves them all.

We stop and consider the lilies of the field. These little flowers, small, insignificant, and utterly common, one of thousands and millions, do not fall without the Lord knowing. He is aware of each of His flowers. He created them, each of them. He knows their petals, their stems, their pistils and stamens. He knows the contour of their stalks and the number of their seeds. They are His.

He knows the sparrows, each as they flit through the air, peck at the ground, and gather twigs for their nests. He knows their feathers, their toes, and their eyes, each unique, even though they are one of millions of seemingly-identical birds. They are not unremarkable to Him. He knows them, because He created them.

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)

“Ye are of more value than many sparrows.” The Lord knows His sparrows, and He loves each of them; how much more so will He not love us, in whose image we are created? We are His work and His glory. We are the reason He suffered, bled, and died, and we are the reason He rose again. I can promise you that He who loves His lilies and sparrows loves us so, so much more.

And so we sing in the fourth verse, which ties together the seeming dichotomy between the all-powerful ruler of the universe and the gentle Lord who knows the details of that universe:

Then sing again in lofty strain
To him who dwells on high;
To prayers you raise, and songs of praise,
He sweetly will reply.

Image credit: “Sparrow Tree Branch Bird,” pixabay.com user gabicuz.

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