Ever wonder why our Lord chose such a common little bird to illustrate such a profound truth? Everyone and everything God created is significant. So when Jesus was teaching He questioned the listeners, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God's sight" (Luke 12:6).
 
My friend Richard, a former inmate who has been released from prison, learned this truth the hard way (see thesparrowministries.org). For several years I wrote words of encouragement to him. After becoming a Christian, he wanted to grow in the faith but there were obstacles. One of the most difficult is printed below:

I Cried with the Sparrow  

I feared that I might die, it was so cold. I had taken a plastic gallon jug and filled it with hot water to place between my feet just to keep them from freezing. The furnace was broken and the authorities had no intent on fixing it until after the Thanksgiving holiday. So we covered ourselves as best we could and tried to rest in the cold cells - shivering.

My beige and gray six-by-nine cell had a steel cot, steel table, steel seat and one window which served only to slow the wind down, not stop it. I laid there and thought about my life. I felt utterly alone. I had no contact from my family and all my friends had disappeared. Was God eluding me too? In that misery, I began to question God. Was He real, and more importantly, did He love me? The only answer that came was the fog of my breathing and a cold turkey sandwich. "Great Thanksgiving," I mumbled.

I prided myself on being strong, but I was weeping in the cold. As I wept, I begged God for a sign that He really cared. I had made terrible choices in the past but I thought I had finally made a good one the day I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. However, I even questioned that on this horrible day.

As I continued to weep I gazed at the snow-swept widow and was surprised to notice a tiny sparrow crouched in the corner of the window sill. How sorry I felt for that bird. I watched him for what seemed hours. I remembered the verse in the Bible when Jesus told of feeding the sparrows. I wondered why He allowed that little creature to suffer as I was. Then with a solitary misty word, I allowed the word "why" to fall from my lips. I had at last put a word to the million questions that ran through my idle mind in that cold, cold cell.

That word seemed to bounce off the concrete wall and suddenly the whole room was bathed in sunlight. The sparrow shook himself from his slumber and began to stretch his wings. He was warming himself in the sun's rays, which invigorated him. I was in awe as I saw the shadow he was casting on my cell wall and then I gasped audibly. There in the cell with me was a picture perfect form of an angel. Each time the little sparrow moved, the angel did too. It was the sign I had been looking for, the affirmation that I was not alone, that God really does care for me. I then got up from my frigid cot, shook off the self pity and penned this poem:

CONVERSATION WITH A SPARROW

Come to me little sparrow, Away from the pelting rain;
Tell me of your sorrows and I'll tell you of my pain.

Come perch upon my window sill,
And rest your weary wing;
And give to me the meaning
Of the beautiful song you sing.

Teach me how to be happy behind these concrete walls;
Now give to me the reason for your early morning calls.

How I'd like to soar the heavens
And fly about so free!
But I am here in prison,
So you take wing for me.