His Eye Is on the Sparrow

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.


For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.


About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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7 Responses to His Eye Is on the Sparrow

  1. Karlene says:

    Just beautiful! It’s all about inspiration… and why things happen as they do. Good can always come from pain, if we are willing to let go and go….


    • Right, Karlene. I always found inspiration looking out a cockpit window. Don’t know if it’s the same for airline pilots, though. Probaby a bit more hectic there.


  2. My mom has been a wonderful example of faith for me. In one year we lost my brother, she and my dad divorced and we moved back to the states. A few years later we lost my other brother. Not once has her faith been shaken or floundered. Instead, it’s what bolstered her through those hard times, enabling her to be there for my sister and I…strong. For her, Holy, Holy, Holy has been a mantra of sorts…I learned my love of hymns from her. When I find myself floundering I tend to look to 3 songs: Leaning On The Everlasting Arms, In The Garden and On Eagles Wings.


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