In the past year, Pam’s life has not been easy. After struggling with health problems and even being carried out on a gurney several times, Pam’s husband passed away. The inside of her house was charming and welcoming, but it felt empty without him. On top of that, the outside of her home needed some repair, but since her brothers were gone, she did not know anyone who could do the work. It was just her and her dog, Oliver.
Although life the past year has been filled with rough waters, Pam’s garden remains a serene place. It is one of those well-established gardens that DIYers dream off. Beds of daylilies and hostas surround her house, a sweet little playhouse that her children used when they were little stands along a fence row, and a small fountain built in memory of her husband bubbles pleasantly.
This spring, however, Pam’s favorite thing in her yard was a nest full of baby robins. She would peer into the nest every day to see how they were doing. When she found the nest knocked over one day, she rushed to the little birds’ aide. She put the nest back, laid a warm washcloth by the chicks, and even found worms to feed them. Pam said aloud “God, your eye is on the sparrow” and she thought to herself, “and I know He watches me”.
Not long after that, an ASP vehicle pulled into Pam’s driveway for an Initial Home Visit.
Now Pam checks in on volunteers and soaks cold wash cloths for them as they work in the hot summer weather. As I sit with Pam in her garden, she tells me how she has seen God’s providential care at work. From the church community she had never met rallying around to build a ramp for her husband to the day ASP pulled into her driveway after she had almost forgotten about the application, Pam knows God is watching out for her.
Pam is not the only one who sees God’s providence at work. Longtime volunteer George remembers a time when God showed him He was there when George felt at his lowest. When George’s wife, who struggled with mental illness, tried to commit suicide, George was the first to find her. The next day, he received a constant stream of phone calls from relatives asking him to explain what was going on when he himself was still struggling to understand.
When George’s phone rang yet again, he was exhausted and in no mood to be cordial. He answered the phone with a gruff hello. The voice on the other end said “Is this George? This is Miss Fay”.
George had not talked to Miss Fay since they became fast friends three years ago when George worked on her house as an ASP volunteer. Miss Fay explained how she had been looking through some old papers and saw his phone number. Something told her she needed to give George a call. Miss Fay, who did not have a telephone, arranged for someone to take her into town just so she could call George.
George sees Miss Fay’s phone call as God’s reminder that He is always there. When George was volunteering with ASP that week three years ago, it was easy to see God’s hand at work bringing people together from across the country to help improve the life of a homeowner. Back at home, however, when life felt like it was falling apart, it was hard to believe that God was still there. That phone call reminded George that God is always working, through the joyful times and the hard times.
Too often, I think we forget that God is actively involved in our day-to-day lives. He did not stop working after creation, He did not stop leading when the Israelites reached the promised land, He did not stop speaking when the last prophet died. God did not abandon us until He comes again. He is there, leading and sustaining us, in the trials and ordinariness of today.
Civilla D. Martin may have written her famous refrain in 1905, but it still rings true: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”
Story Gathering Intern