Look, if you sold a few sparrows, how much money would you get? A copper coin apiece, perhaps? And yet your Father in heaven knows when those small sparrows fall to the ground. You, beloved, are worth so much more than a whole flock of sparrows. God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. So do not fear. [Matthew 10:29-31 (VOICE)]
I recently walked by a home that has a large sign at its front door: “Smile, you’re on camera!” We’ve got baby monitors and nanny cams and can see who is at the door with a glance at our cell phones! Cameras are disguised as working clocks, lightbulbs, phone chargers and smoke detectors. No moment is private if a cell phone is nearby and our most embarrassing moments may find their way onto Facebook or YouTube. Police have body cams, cyclists have Go-Pros, drivers have dash cams, drones can watch us sunbathing in the yard, and schools embed RFID chips in student ID badges. We’re even monitored while in department store dressing rooms (an unsettling thought when trying on bathing suits!) Two years ago, hidden cameras were found in a beach house that was rented out to unsuspecting vacationers. Cameras are everywhere and no place is private; this whole surveillance thing is rather disquieting.
While I find human surveillance and our lack of privacy disturbing, I’m reassured by God’s knowledge of our comings and goings. Surveillance means “watching over” and is derived from the French words “sur,” meaning “from above,” and “veiller,” meaning “to watch.” Our Heavenly Father truly surveils or watches over us from above. While most of today’s surveillance is to record us doing something wrong in order to catch and punish us, to capture us at our worst for others’ entertainment, or to record our intimate moments for salacious reasons, that’s not so with God’s surveillance. Although He sees us when we’re erring and straying (at our best and worst and even in our bedrooms), He’s not going to post anything on Facebook, sell our secrets to the tabloids, send us traffic tickets, arrest us for jaywalking, or exploit our privacy. The purpose of His surveillance has as much to do with guiding us when we’re lost, protecting us from harm, helping us in difficulty, comforting us in sorrow and encouraging us in weakness as it does with admonishing or correcting us when we’re in error.
El Roi, the God Who Sees Me, is what a slave girl named Hagar called God when she realized her plight was not hidden from the Lord of the Universe. She took comfort in knowing that He watched over her and knew all about her troubles. Like Hagar, I’m comforted by having a God who sees me. Nothing escapes El Roi and, knowing that His eye is on the sparrow, I can be sure that He sees and cares for me.
“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 D. Martin)]
O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am; You even know the small details like when I take a seat and when I stand up again. Even when I am far away, You know what I’m thinking. You observe my wanderings and my sleeping, my waking and my dreaming, and You know everything I do in more detail than even I know. You know what I’m going to say long before I say it. It is true, Eternal One, that You know everything and everyone. You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me, and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder. It is the most amazing feeling to know how deeply You know me, inside and out; the realization of it is so great that I cannot comprehend it. [Psalm 139:1-6 (VOICE)]
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