Lessons From a Woodpecker

Nov 19, 2020 | Uncategorized, Writer's Blog | 2 comments

Nick and I are savoring a leisurely walk through the retreat center meadow, leaves crunching beneath our feet, autumn colors feasting our eyes, and the calls of birds in the surrounding forest filling our ears.  “Cuk-cuk-cuk!”  Pleased that I could identify its cries, I tell Nick, “I recognize that bird: it’s a flicker!”

As we continue our stroll, we hear it again: “Cuk-cuk-cuk!”  That’s awfully loud for a flicker—it’s as if he’s learned to project his cry with a booming bass voice.  And when we hear him pecking on the trees in the woods around us, it resounds powerfully.  That must be a really big flicker!

It dawns on me that I might not be as familiar with the flicker’s voice as I thought.  Could this be one of his woodpecker relatives?  Then we see him fly across our path: huge black wings with distinctive white bars—definitely not a flicker!  “Pileated woodpecker” pops into my head.  I open my bird app to look at the description: “In flight, look for prominent white underwings.”  I listen to recordings of the pileated woodpecker’s calls.  It’s a match: a cry that’s like the flicker’s but an octave lower!  

Holy Spirit catches my attention.  It seems He’s saying, “Learn from this.  Don’t assume you already recognize what you’re hearing from Me.  Listen a little more.  Wait a bit longer.  Pay closer attention.  There’s more I want to reveal to you.  You can’t fully understand if you think you already grasp what you’re hearing.”

The following afternoon, I’m resting on a bench along a forest path at the retreat center.  Just sitting.  Listening.  Observing.  Speaking to the Lord in my heart.  The flap of wings catches my attention: the pileated woodpecker is back!  This time I have a clear vantage point: brilliant red head with a crest that looks like a hairdo from the 50’s, massive beak as big as his head, huge black body the size of a crow.  I watch him for ten minutes or more as he hammers away at one tree, then swoops to another to bang on that one.  He’s fully exposed, fully revealed.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20 ESV).

If we accept our Savior’s invitation to open the door and take the time to sit down to the table with Him, it’s easier to grasp the fullness of what He’s saying.  Similar to the way I sat watching the pileated woodpecker that day in the woods, when we quiet ourselves and linger at the table with Him, Jesus often has more that He wants to reveal to us.

Lord, help us to recognize Your voice as you invite us to open the door and spend some time with you to share a meal, listen to You, and grasp more of what You’re saying to us.

Photo credit: Image by Bryan Hanson from Pixabay

More from the blog

Love Is Success

Love Is Success

“And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14, New Living Translation). To be successful means many different things to different people. Some folks consider having won an award...

Enkindled

Enkindled

Standing as sarsen stone witnessing the alignmentof a new day, significantly different from most others,for physical attributes were speaking spiritual truth.Light began filtering across the Earth illuminating objectsin red glow simultaneously sending shadowsfleeing...

One Good Choice at a Time

One Good Choice at a Time

Have you ever, as a parent, been blessed by the Holy Spirit’s guidance in a teachable moment with your child? I have been amazed so many times by His gentle guidance, His wise answers, and His perfect timing in these sorts of situations with my children. The other...

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
carol l snider
carol l snider
1 year ago

These are instructive pictures and thoughts. The Emmaus road encounter was certainly such a revelation. Thank you for encouraging me to linger and savor time at Jesus’ table.

Stay Up To Date

Stay Up To Date

Join our email list to stay up to date on all the exciting things going on at Heartland Church

You have Successfully Subscribed!