If I Were A Sparrow
We live in a scary world it seems. Everything is shifting, nothing is immovable and nothing feels truly stable. The economy, our politicians, small towns we thought were “safe” all have displayed enough chaos, violence and lack of integrity to bring our trust to an absolute low. We don’t know who to trust or what to lean on in tough times.
Living in times like this one question can eat at us from within.
Does God really care about me?
Does He really care about what I am involved in or is He even still here? Maybe He’s not as powerful as He used to be…? Or maybe He’s just too busy fixing natural disasters etc. to really take care of me. Perhaps when asked straight out at church we wouldn’t fully admit this but the reality is the depth to which you and I are affected by this question only reveals itself in times of trouble.
The disciples asked this question of Jesus too in the midst of their storm. Running down to Him, with their boat on the verge of capsizing which would launch them all into a swift death in the raging sea, they find Him sleeping. And one question emerges “ Teacher, don’t you care?” I’ve asked this when healing seems delayed, when finances are not quite enough or when I didn’t get the answer I was looking for to a particular prayer… “Jesus, don’t you care?” A sort of “where are you?” notion comes over me calling into question another promise He made to us, “I will be with you always” (Matt.28:20). It is in these moments we discover how much we truly question the things God has said He would do and the integrity of His word. This is the problem before the problem so to speak.
In Matt.6 Jesus begins addressing this chronic condition of mankind – worry. Reiterating to us just how important we are to Him, He invites the disciples to consider the poise with which each sparrow conducts life in the hands of their faithful Father. Jesus then poses this question,
“Are you not much more valuable then they?”
I guess here’s where we need to stop and truly ask ourselves that question, “am I not valuable to God?”
Jesus points us towards the sparrows and birds of the fields as if to say, “Look how God cares for each one of these creatures, will He not be even more careful with you?” In Matt.10 the call to learn about our Father from what He created has us again examining the life of sparrows to which Jesus states that “not even one sparrow falls to the ground without the Father’s knowledge” and again assures us we are worth more than many sparrows.
So what’s our problem?
Jesus seems to kind of ask the same question to the disciples back in Matt.6:30 except He words it this way, “Why do you have so little faith?” I have easily attributed the need to have faith for the big things in life like financial difficulties, healing etc. But sometimes everyday life problems don’t seem to fit in the same “lack of faith” category for me. Jesus, however, cuts to the chase here. He highlights their inability to simply trust as an underlying “lack of faith”. And what is it that this crowd is “lacking faith” in? The statement He just made about the Father’s intention to care for each of us completely, an intention that all of heaven backs Him on. They were having trouble believing that He was aware of them, present and involved in their situations and longed to be their sole provider, healer, and sustainer – their all. In this particular passage He’s dealing with the everyday essentials food, clothing, provision and shelter. He makes a promise, He shares a truth about the Father but it is up to those who hear it to actually believe it.
What gives the sparrows their poise? Why don’t they worry? Jesus alludes to the fact that they know their heavenly Father will take care of them. They know it deep inside. For us, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). We must clamp on to every promise God has made to provide for us, to take care of us. Every word about His love and like David we must learn to “hide in Him until calamities and destructive storms pass” (Ps.57:1-2) declaring in the middle of them God will, “perform on my behalf”, He will not fail! Here’s the thing, God can make all the promises He wants (and has made many to us through His word) but unless we by faith receive them and apply them to our lives they will not bring any peace to us. To believe is to “have confidence…in the existence, or the reliability of something” according to Webster’s dictionary. To believe is to acknowledge something as truth and to be confident in it.
So, if I were a sparrow I would not be so frantic trying to sow and reap more and more just to store away and hope I’ll have enough in the end. I would know I’m going to be fine because God my Father said He’d take care of it.
If I were a sparrow the pace of my life would slow down dramatically as I allowed myself to rest more in His grace.
If I were a sparrow I would know with my needs taken care of, I am free to believe God for even bigger things and follow Him into the greatest of adventures.
With the warm weather here, the birds are everywhere and so their instruction on living a faith-filled life is readily available. I went outside today to learn from them. To let my heart trust the Father more this my prayer;
Father God I know you care for me, thank-you
I know You are involved and You are here
I know You will not fail nor let me fail
Your word is true, You are true
You’ll work this all out
I trust You