A Woodpecker’s Parable


Hello friends – I’ve heard that God uses the hardest stories and deepest wounds to shine His light of mercy and grace on those who need it most. But so often we need reminding of this, don’t we? For me, it was emphasized through ‘The Woodpecker’s Parable’. As many of you know, I’m a nature girl. My favorite activity is to walk in the mountains, decluttering my thoughts and spending time alone with God. On one particular day, I asked “Lord, what would You have me know of You today?” Within moments I heard the tap, tap, tapping of a woodpecker behind me. Believing this was a direct answer to my question, I quickly turned around and began searching the treetops for where the sound was coming from. I located my little friend and noticed strange things dropping down as he continued to peck away at the tree. I wondered what this was all about.

Ever curious with questions (after all, I’m a life coach!), I did a Google search. I stood there mesmerized, reading about the threefold behavior of these amazing creatures. First, they use their beaks to tear away at bark to uncover and eat insects, which provides physical nourishment. They also drill holes in dying trees in which to nest, creating a restful habitat. Thirdly, to defend all the hard work they’ve done to get food and housing, they continue to pound away with a rapid drumming. This is a way of communicating with other birds. I thought this was all so interesting, yet didn’t realize there was more to understand.

As I continued reflecting on this, the Holy Spirit began to show me a parallel between this fascinating small bird and a greater spiritual lesson. I began to see how God makes Himself known to His creation in three similar ways. He has provided us His Word – food for the soul. He has provided Jesus the Messiah, who is the Prince of Peace – rest for the soul. And, He has provided the Holy Spirit who instructs and counsels – communication with Him. How amazing to consider that the God of creation not only longs for relationship with us, but actually goes out of the way to make Himself known in wondrous ways.

Do you realize what this means for you, whatever painful thing you may be going through? Whether you find yourself on top of the mountain of cluttered piles or in the stormy valley of grief, know that God cares for you. He is merciful, gracious and loving in all His ways. I believe He wants to remind us through this allegory that He sees our pain, knows our deepest needs and longs to know us more. So, the next time you hear the sound of a woodpecker, pause to remember this simple story that teaches a life changing truth. God’s ongoing provisions of nourishment, rest and communication with you are more than sufficient to get you through any and every situation you find yourself in.

Coaching Connection:

  1. In what ways does God show Himself to you?
  2. How does this bring you comfort and hope?


Photo by John Napier 

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