Tony A. Smith

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His Eye is on the Sparrow

His Eye is on the Sparrow

His Eye is on the Sparrow


It was the spring of 1904 when Civilla Martin and her husband Walter Martin decided to take the journey from Wilson, North Carolina to Elmira, New York to visit some friends.  They had been planning the 530 mile trip for a long time and it was high time to break away from the day-to-day grind of life for a while. The dirt roads would be hard to maneuver in between the ruts, but it would be worth the aggravation .  The birds had already recognized that it was their time to make a show in the world and let their singing voices be heard.  Civilla was elated to have a mini break from her music teaching job and Walter was happy to get some time away from his preaching as a Baptist minister at First Baptist of Wilson.  The congregation would miss him, but he had made arrangements to have a fill in preacher while he was away with Civilla visiting their friends – Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle.

Mrs. Doolittle has been bedridden for nearly twenty years and Mr. Doolittle is crippled and confined to a wheelchair.  Can you imagine being bedridden with illness for almost twenty years?  Walter and I arrived in Elmira in the evening and after dinner I decided to sit for a while with Mrs. Doolittle and read to her.  I read a few verses from the bible and then started to sing a few of her favorite songs to her.  After singing for a few minutes, I stopped and asked her a question.  ” Do you ever get discouraged about your life Mrs. Doolittle?”  With that, she replied “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”  I smiled, patted her hand, looked deep into her dark brown eyes and said “Thank you for letting me spend this time with you today my sweet friend.”

My conversation with Mrs. Doolittle, and seeing all that the Doolittle’s had endured in their own life, made me really stop and think about life and how they were able to face the difficulties.  That special visit in Elmira with our dear friends inspired me to write this poem.



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 songs give 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. 

GOD has a way of reminding of us as to who is in charge of this world doesn’t he?  He says he knows all the numbers of hairs on our head and cares even about the little sparrows.  Have you ever felt down and discouraged in your own life?  I know I have, and I am glad to be reminded of this truth and how much he cares for each of us no matter what we might be going through on our journey.  If you live life long enough you are bound to come up against some trouble or difficulties of some kind.  Sometimes those troubles come in twos and threes, and sometimes fours.  When you do, just think about those little sparrows!

The story above about Civilla Martin is my fictional account of how this famous song came to be and is based upon many facts.

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Civilla Durfee Martin – 1905 Public Domain


  1. Arts & Rhymes says:

    A beautiful inspiring post and a very dear poem! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful lines! I am inspired!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. milliethom says:

    A lovely story, Tony, with a beautifully written poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jjspina says:

    This is a lovely story and a beautiful poem, Tony! Thank you so much for sharing! You are a special person and so kind. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lynn__ says:

    That song, often sung by Ethel Waters at Billy Graham crusades, was a favorite of my mother’s…glad to hear the story behind it, Tony 🙂


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