I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
His Eye is on the Sparrow
(Civilla Durfee Martin)
Recently, I shared coffee with a church member who told me about a visit with one of our aging church members in a care facility. This woman had told her how much she loves when her husband tells her he loves her. She said, "he closes one eye, and I know he's just looking at me." It reminded me of those words from the hymn, based on Matthew 6:26 or any of the scriptures about God keeping an eye on us (such as Psalm 32:8). I had always wondered why God would be characterized as keeping only one eye on me and not more. Not that I presume God has two eyes, but there are other scriptures about God's eyes. I think I finally get it. There's something about being singled out by a wink or a parent or family member volunteering to keep an eye on us. There's a focus, there's a reassurance, there's love.
As a lifeguard, I spent years in a chair or on pool decks, scanning back and forth, both eyes wide open, watching everyone. Although I watched all the kids and parents, I never felt as attuned as some mothers and fathers who almost seemed to be paying no attention at all as they chatted with a friend or focused on another kid. And yet, time and time again, a kid I thought only I was watching would be caught mid-air or yelled at in the middle of breaking the rules by a parent I didn't think was even watching. They didn't have both eyes on their kid. They had a watchful, loving eye on all they did. They were safer with one parental eye than my trained pair of lifeguard peepers. And I think the difference was that relationship. The difference was their parent knew them well enough to know what they would do next. The difference was love.
God knows us better than anyone. God loves us. God keeps a watchful eye on us, even when the rest of the world has both eyes on us, seemingly all the time. And when we are doing what we shouldn't, we hear God call out to us. And when we think no one is watching or cares, God closed one eye, looks right over with a little smile, and says, "I love you." And we know that's just for us.