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The Message of the Woodpecker

All it took was one industrious bird to show how to be more devoted to God.

The busy woodpecker in Peggy Frezon's backyard.

Tat a tat tat!

What could be making that racket? It sounded as if someone was banging on a drum outside my kitchen door.

Tat a tat tat!

I stepped outside into a brisk spring morning, my gaze following the sharp noise to a decaying 50-foot maple behind our yard. About half way up the tree perched a huge pileated woodpecker, black and white stripes down his scrawny neck, and a bright red crest on top. This was not a bird I saw hanging around every day. This bird stood out.

More than because of his (or her?) appearance, however, the bird stood out because he (let’s just say) was working so industriously. His beak hammered away at the tree trunk, dust and chips flying.

He had already carved a perfect round entrance hole and was diving inside, excavating a cavity for the nest in the dead wood. He worked diligently for hours, and then he was at it again the next day, and the next.

And, as I caught a glimpse of him out the kitchen window, I couldn’t help but feel a bit humbled by his determination, compared to the devotion I put into some of my efforts.

Sometimes I try to do something difficult, only to end up feeling like I’m hitting my head against a brick wall–​or an old dead tree.

How often, then, do I quit? If only I would keep pecking away, I would more likely find success. Anything worth doing is worth putting forth my best effort. Especially my relationship with God. It doesn’t honor him to whisk through my day, say a few rushed prayers, and thank Him for His loving care while I’m flitting off to do something else.

Today, I’m taking time to slow down, focus more intently and sit with the Lord, giving him my full attention.

Even though it’s difficult sometimes to understand His will for me, to keep making the right choices when facing things that are difficult, to keep praising when times are tough, I know that the only way through it all is through Him.

All it took was a hard-working woodpecker to show me.

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