The name ‘sparrow’ comes from the word that means ‘to quiver’. These tiny jewels from God make their lives among us, so we barely notice their chestnut napes, sandy coloured wings and grey bellies as they dance among us.
The following story is based on the true life of one little sparrow. He made his home in the ponga tree on the top of a hill. Every now and then, big hands scattered some seed on the grass under his tree and a flash mob of sparrows swooped in. He was a cheeky one, so always made sure he got his share before returning to play in the fern fronds.
One day, the sparrow was doing what he always did, dust bathing and getting fat on worms, when his foot wrapped around a long, thin thing that seemed to float onward and onward. The sparrow flew and puffed and shook his wings, but Long Thin Thing held on tight. He swooped and pounded among the trees, until he found himself spinning round and round and hanging upside down from the branch of a magnolia tree. Determined, the sparrow puffed up his chest and spread his wings, and shook and pecked. But finally he just hung there, exhausted and waiting for the fight to leave him.
Just when his day couldn’t get bluer, those big hands appeared from nowhere. Exhausted and confused, the little sparrow mustered up just enough might to peck meanly at the hands, making himself as big as he could and using his wings as paddles for beating. But he found himself enclosed completely in the hands.
He pecked and paddled inside his cocoon. And suddenly, the hands opened like a flower, and the little sparrow flew away as if all the sky belonged to him.
‘It was my grand pecking,’ thought little sparrow. ‘Maybe it was the strength of my wings.’ As he swung among the pongas, he knew he was safe tonight, and that tomorrow there would be more seed. What are those big hands? he yawned, before drifting into slumber.
‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows,’ says Jesus in Matthew 10:29-31.
Life sometimes feels full of danger, and we become entangled in hidden traps. We thump our fists and fight for our lives, and feel that our prayers go unheeded. We may not even know that big hands are picking us up and setting us on sure paths. God is bigger than we can imagine or understand, but he is not a far-off God. He reaches down to help us in our need. God has made a promise to us: we are in our father’s care.
By Ingrid Barratt