HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW                                                   written in 1905

The Story

This song was written in 1905 by Civilla D. Martin (1866-1948) and composer Charles H. Gabriel (1856-1932).

The song was inspired by the words of David in the Psalms and Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you shall go: I will guide you with My eye” (Ps. 32:8).  “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26) and “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.  So fear not, you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29–31).

Civilla said this about her inspiration to write the song based on the scriptures outlined above,

“Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, NY.  We                  contracted a deep friendship with a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—                true saints of God.  Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years.  Her                    husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his                              business in a wheel chair.  Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives,              bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them.  One day while we were                      visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness                    and asked them for the secret of it.  Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: ‘His eye is on              the sparrow, and I know He watches me.’  The beauty of this simple expression of                  boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me.                The hymn ‘His Eye Is on the Sparrow’ was the outcome of that experience.”

The next day, she mailed this hymn to her friend, Charles H. Gabriel (1856-1932), who composed the music for it.

This hymn has been recorded by many artists. 

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – thank God for His watchcare over you.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven 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.

Refrain

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.  (Refrain)

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.  (Refrain)

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