Monday, August 4, 2014

Pecking in Vain

Last year I was on carpool duty at our local homeschool co-op, standing on the concrete curb to open car doors and welcome students each morning.

Towards the end of the school year, the start of my days were greeted with an annoying repetitive echo.

It sounded like a jack hammer on metal.

Directly upon my eardrums.

I scanned the street parallel to the school in an effort to locate the source.

The noise would discontinue for a moment; but, to my dismay, it would start all over again.

It was coming from above.

Gazing to the treetops, I discovered a woodpecker perched at the highest point of metal light pole.

I hoped he would figure it out and fly away.

But, he stayed.   And came back every.single.morning.

In between me welcoming students, the crazed fellow hammered away at that spot until the end of the school year.

Pecking his beak in fast repetitions of annoyance.

After a few days of this, I became the insane one.

Like a wacko, I started pointing him out to mamas, students, teachers...anyone who would look at him.

I may have crossed the line of sanity when I cupped my hands to my mouth and shouted across the street, Dude, it's all in vain!  You ain't gonna build a home there.  Stop trying, you moron!

Trust me, it was maddening.  And I was falling into his little woodpecker trap of crazy.

I'm pretty sure he probably flew away as soon as I'd crank up my Yukon and drive away.  I'm certain he was there just for my personal irritation. 

As frustrating as it was to experience the rat-tat-tatting reverberance of feathered insanity, I've found myself pondering how the red-headed fellow portrayed such a daily picture of our own lives.

How we desperately attempt to make this world our home.

Seeking things that inevitably won't come through for us or give us true soul sustenance.

The bird couldn't build a home or find food in the pole; yet, he returned to it every day.

Likewise, our lives often become a cycle of vain pecking, as we seek idols to fill the God-shaped hole that only Christ can fill.

As Jesus said in John 6:35, He is our only hope and rescue:
I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

When we peck and peck in an effort to build our existence apart from the true Bread of Life, we fail to trust in His provisions.  His goodness.

We become like the prodigal son-- squandering our inheritance to live with pigs.

Apart from Christ our lives reflect that of the woodpecker, furiously striving to make a home that will not sustain true growth and life.

Anything we run to in a frenzied attempt to numb ourselves from experiencing the deep hunger in our souls is an idol.  When we replace our hope in Christ with things of this world, we can never be satisfied.

Our rescue comes when we recognize our vain pecking and take it all to Him-- in repentance and rest (Isaiah 30:15).

Our craving for more-- the ache-- is not wrong.  We are created with a heart that desires more-- a pulse that throbs with an intricately designed rhythm for worship.  And the Master Craftsman desperately longs for our whole heart. 

We all worship someone or something.

The question is what do you spend your time worshiping?

Where are you trying to make life work apart from the Father?

What is your metal pole that's not sustaining true life?

His arms are always outstretched wide.  He is always waiting.  His grace never ceasing.

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