Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sparrows, the Japanese, and You

I woke up this morning thinking about a conversation that I had a couple of days ago with a friend who’d lost a pet. This pet had been a beloved companion through many seasons in her life. Understandably, because of this, she found herself dealing with sadness.

I offered the words of Jesus, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And not one of them shall fall on the ground without your father. (Matthew 10:29KJV)”

I’ve found comfort that the God of the universe takes note of a waning sparrow. Those words help me know God cares about any loss I have.

Sparrows are as bountiful as pine trees in Georgia.

Once more borrowing a phrase from my husband of below-the-fall-line origins, “They’re a dime a dozen.”

Hardly worth a thought.

In John Wesley’s notes on this verse we read, “The particular providence of God…extends to the smallest things.”

“…the smallest things.”

The fact is that God does allow sparrows to fall to the ground. And when he does, he knows. In the eternal order, somehow it matters. In this way, God is almost incomprehensible to me.

God catches the last breath of a tiny winged creature here in my backyard and at the same time hears the cries of each soul shattered in devastated Japan.

His vastness, his greatness, his knowing-all is beyond my understanding.

“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31)”

It helps me to think of God’s immensity when I read of catastrophes like that of whole villages disappearing in the tsunami carnage. Because not only does he care about the smallest things, so much more he cares about all those he created in his own image. God’s heart is as great as God is.

Just a couple of days ago I played the familiar children’s song “He’s got the whole world in His hands” while ministering in a nursing home. I’ve often turned to the message carried in its lyrics in situations where people are marginalized: prisons, nursing homes, homeless shelters--places where people are desperate to know of a God bigger than their circumstances. It seems to help.

Today, on this first Sunday in Lent, we remember that God expressed his immeasurable love and care for us through the death of his Son, and in answer to all the “Where was God?” questions, the answer is God knows, God sees, God cares.

About sparrows…about the devastated Japanese …about you.

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