Not One Sparrow is Forgotten – arr. Hawley
Not one sparrow is forgotten,
E’en the raven God will feed;
And the lily of the valley
From His bounty hath its need.
Then shall I not trust Thee, Father,
In Thy mercy have a share?
And through faith and prayer, my Mother,
Merit Thy protecting care?
Shaker Hymn (Canterbury Shakers Hymnal, 1908)
The lyrics of this Hymn come primarily from a very familiar Gospel moment, the sermon on the Mount, this passage found in Matthew chapter 6. In this particular part of the sermon, Christ is speaking to the crowd about the fruitlessness of worry, and He finishes by saying “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27).
Personally, worry has always been a particular thorn in my side. Through years of nature and nurture, it has become a tricky trap for me, because more often than not, my instinct to worry feels more like “thinking things through” than anything negative. I feel as if it would be irresponsible NOT to worry a little bit. So why does Christ speak so strongly against worry?
This is something I wrestle with often, and my most recent conclusion is that worrying is my fearful attempt at a power grab from God.
When I worry, I try to control every element of a decision that I can, rather than trust that God will provide for me. It’s a way of hedging my bets against any negative outcomes, and in that, it is motivated by fear, not faith. Of course, this doesn’t mean the opposite end of the spectrum is any better. It is irresponsible to go into every situation unprepared, but if I must be in control of every decision, my power grab is spiritually irresponsible, unfaithful, and, as Jesus so clearly points out, fruitless.
So how do we relinquish that power?
To tell you the truth, I’m still working on it myself, but here are a few tips to guide you along the way from a far more reliable source than myself.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.