One morning this week, I found Sweet William sitting on the edge of the bed looking out the window. He had spotted a Pileated Woodpecker on the plumb tree in our side yard.
I eased over quietly to see it, not only because it’s a rare occurrence around here, but because I had been wishing-praying-asking God for this very thing.
A bulletin board hangs in the kitchen where a monthly calendar counts off the days. There are a few other things posted there. Like is a card someone sent with a drawing of two little girls in dress-up cloths. It reminds me of my grand girls when they were young. There’s also a cutout of a little dog with the caption, “Wag more. Bark less,” a reminder to consider the words and attitudes I freely share with Sweet William.
Up in the corner of that hanging board was a picture I had cut out awhile back, the very woodpecker with its brilliant red-head feathers. It was a wish, a desire, a dream to see this creature up close and personal again.
(Photo from myrustichouse.com/)
Years ago, when the grandchildren were very small, I spied a woodpecker on the utility poll that connects electricity and phone lines to our houses. Those were the days when our family-too-far-away lived in the house next door, and it was a joyful arrangement.
The woodpecker was pecking that pole as if it were alive and he was going to find some treat in its battered surface. That’s the last time I recall seeing a critter like him around our area.
We have lots of birds making their homes in our yard and surrounding little woods. They build nests in our bushes and houses on poles, and they generally help keep the insect population under control as they swoop and flutter about. They serenade the morning dawn and entertain me throughout the day with songs and antics.
We are blessed to live across the lane from a lake that is home to a number of Canadian geese. This spring there are two pairs with three little goslings each, and Little Girl Maisie and I often see them waddling along or swimming in line as we take our walks.
My little corner of the world is full of blessings, especially the winged ones.
But it was a woodpecker I longed to see. When I cut out the picture, I just decided to ask for one from the God who gives good things to His children. Of course, it was not a necessity for me to survive, but it was something I really wanted. Why not ask Him?
The morning I sat on the side of the bed with Sweet William and watched the woodpecker, waiting for him to make his way around the tree so I could see all of his foot-long frame, I was thankful for this gift, a gift I had asked for and had been lovingly, graciously granted by a good, good Father.
Some might think it just coincident or happenstance or the way fate destined it.
I choose to believe it was from my Heavenly Father’s hand because He delights in seeing His children enjoy the life and world He made just for us. His Word says, “He has filled the hungry with good things,” not just food to keep me from starving to death, but rich and tasty, good and pleasurable.
I pulled the picture from the bulletin board and pasted it in my journal, a reminder of this day’s joy. Is it significant that the woodpecker sighting came at the time I was in an emotional skirmish? I think it is. That bird appearance was a gentle hug from above.
And I think I may have heard a voice deep within me say, “Now what else do you want?”
I’m not a name-it-claim-it kind of believer. I don’t think I can influence the universe or bring things into existence by some power within me. Truthfully, none of us are that strong.
There is a sovereign Lord of lords who will do whatever He pleases, and I’m far from being wise enough to know what is best. I find the most effective prayer I can pray is “Not my will but Thine be done.”
Yet, there is a God who has given all good things for us to enjoy, given us opportunity to know Him and to become His child. He invites me to come and somehow when I do it gives Him pleasure. That’s impossible for me to understand because I’m not always the best company.
Do we shortchange ourselves by not asking more, knocking consistently, seeking until we find? Do we expect that suffering is all there is, resign ourselves to this lot in life so that we never expect deliverance, victory or joy? Do we fail to pray for big things from the God who is more than able to do what we cannot even imagine?
Perhaps I limit God by my small requests and thus minimize Him in my own eyes.
He fills the universe and beyond. He counts the hairs on my head. He stores my tears in a bottle. He keeps a journal on me. He loves me more than I can comprehend. He asks for my friendship, my time, and my attention because He desires me.
Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name forever!
He longs to be gracious to me and rises to show me compassion.
I will ask for my daily bread. I will pray for those who are sick and suffering. I will seek His presence and wait for Him, wait on His timing, wait for His “Yes” to my requests. I will trust Him when the answer is “no” and believe that He has something significantly better in mind.
And I will look for the next surprise gift He has planned just for me.