Christian songs and other writing can be inspired by any number of things the author may observe. They can come from a deep emotional and spiritual experience or from a simple incident the writer happened upon.
Civilla Durfee Martin tells the story of how she came up with the words to “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” in 1905, put to music by Charles H. Gabriel a year later. A Nova Scotia native who taught school and music, she married Dr. Walter Martin, an evangelist, and gave up her teaching to travel with him. Her account:
In the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmyra, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nearly 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 watched me.” The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hears and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” was the outcome of that experience.
Here’s one version of the song:
Seeing the example of this wonderful couple must have been truly a moving experience. I can only imagine.
What extraordinary examples of faith have you witnessed? What songs, essays, poems or other things have you been moved to write because of such examples?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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