What’s your favorite part of the day? For me, it’s the morning. I love sitting in the backyard with a steaming cup of fresh-brewed coffee, listening to the delightful chorus of singing birds. It’s where I enjoy reading my Bible and spending time in prayer. Recently, however, a persistent knocking caught my attention. It took me a moment or two to realize where it was coming from. A wooden utility pole is situated near the corner of my yard. At its top, a woodpecker was pounding on the dead wood for all it was worth. Knock, knock, knock . . .
Woodpeckers primarily eat bugs in living trees. I was curious why it was wasting time banging its head on dead wood, so, being the nerd that I am, I did some research. I discovered that, while there are various reasons, the best explanation is that they simply don’t know any better. To them, a tree is a tree is a tree.
Knocking on Dead Wood
But we are smarter than that, right? Well . . . Have you ever watched someone (or been someone) looking for fulfillment in the same old, dead places? Some poor choices are obvious. Such as drugs, alcohol, extramarital sex, gambling, being a workaholic, etc. I am ashamed to admit I’ve traveled many of these roads.
They all lure us with the same bait: the possibility of reward. It might be hitting the jackpot, chasing a drug high, or another career achievement. However, in the end, the satisfaction, if any, is short-lived. And the price we pay is often too high.
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but its end leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12
But before we judge, even the “do-gooders” can be susceptible. Many turn to “religion.” Religion in and of itself, with its “good deeds and religious works,” also leads to empty promises. It’s just another dead tree. Personal self-fulfillment simply cannot be satisfied with external activities, no matter how noble. Without transformation on the inside, these efforts quickly become exhausting.
What about you? What dead wood have you been beating your head against? Have you taken a close look at what’s really on the other side? I can assure you there are nothing but lies, empty promises, death, and dust.
The Desires of Your Heart
Deep down, most of us desire the same things. We all long for purpose, unconditional love, and acceptance. These desires are healthy and good. We know this because God placed them within each of us. But He did this so that we would reach out to Him. He is the only One who can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
So let’s stop chasing the world with its lies and empty promises. Let us run to our heavenly Father and surrender our hopes and dreams to Him. In turn, He will begin to transform us on the inside, satisfying our hearts to overflowing with His peace, presence, and love. Then, we can finally stop pounding our head against the wall.
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
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Shadia is a passionate Bible teacher, author and speaker who has a heart for seeing lives transformed by the power of God’s Word. She holds a master’s in biblical and theological studies from Western Seminary and is author of several books and Bible studies.