His Eye is on the Sparrow

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. 
Isaiah 49:16

 It began as an ordinary day of looking after a toddler and a preschooler, but quickly soured when I realized we were down to the last few squares of toilet paper and still had two days until payday. Suddenly, it felt like I’d been self-sacrificing for a very long time and I just couldn’t bear it anymore.

I’d grown up on a hard-scrabble mixed farm in Saskatchewan without even a telephone. Allowances were unheard of, as were family vacations. I went to university on my own wallet, quit halfway through because the debt started to pile up, and then got married at 21. Neither of us had a university degree or trade or career to speak of but we both worked full time and even managed to scrape together the money for a down payment on a little house. Keeping all the bills paid, however, was a constant struggle. When we made the decision for me to quit work when we had kids – a decision I have never regretted – it made our budget a daily faith walk. This particular morning, with the toilet paper situation, it was all just too much.

I wracked my brains for solutions. We didn’t even have paper towel or Kleenex tissue to fall back on because those were luxuries we didn’t buy routinely. If we couldn’t afford toilet paper, we’d be looking at our junk mail for paper options.

I bent over my bible and cried out to God. I couldn’t understand why life was so hard when I felt like I was doing my best to be a good wife and mum--when we were church-going, tithing, believers. Why, why, why? It’s ridiculous, I raged, that we can’t even keep ourselves in toilet paper! I sat in my tears for a few minutes and then I said to Him very quietly, “I need to know You see me. I need to know You understand. Please show me today.” Then, with kids and chores needing attention, I simply got up and got on with the day, figuring I would have to borrow money for toilet paper that afternoon.

Before I went anywhere, though, I walked to the end of our driveway to collect the mail. Inside was something I’d never before seen in a mailbox. It was a sample-sized roll of toilet paper from one of the big paper companies! I held it in my hands like treasure and looked up and down my street. Was this a joke? How did they know? Did everyone else on my block get a roll of toilet paper in the mail that day? Then I felt joy bubbling up inside me and I realized I didn’t care if anyone else got one: I just knew that my Father in Heaven SAW me, KNEW me, and provided for all my needs.

There are no coincidences in this life.

  Carla Taylor-Brown

 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’m happy)

I sing because I’m free, (I’m free)

for his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me.

-       Civilla D. Martin (1905)