Last week I went for a three mile run on our road. I love running here on the quiet country roads, between the cow and horse fields. I run down to the Arkansas state line (a mile from my house) and then to the old Blue Eye Cemetery. I love this peaceful little old cemetery; some of the graves date back into the 1800s. It sits at the top of a hill overlooking the countryside.

As I ran along State Line Road, I noticed a gang of vultures down in the culvert, probably feasting on a dead critter of some sort. They all lifted their hulking black selves into the air to fly away as I passed over the culvert.

I am not afraid of vultures. But they are a bit creepy! And they are shockingly huge when you see them up close. I just kept on running (but maybe sped up my pace just a teeny bit).

One of them flew right over my head. I could almost feel the beat of his immense wings as he passed over me. His shadow completely engulfed me and covered up half the road.

I looked up as he flew over and was astonished to see that it was actually a bald eagle! So close I could discern individual feathers and his great talons tucked behind him. He must have been down in the culvert with the vultures.

He flew out in front of me and then circled around above me, moving along with me as I ran up the hill and then walked through the cemetery. With each rotation he rose higher and higher above me until I could barely see him any longer against the bright blue sky.

I think it was prophetic.

I thought that a creature of death was overtaking me, but was surprised to discover it was actually a symbol of strength and victory… circling above me, watching me, guiding my attention higher and higher.

A lot of us are so disheartened by things that are happening in our world today. We feel as if death is chasing us. We hear its big black wings flapping up behind us, gaining ground, overtaking us. We feel the coldness of its shadow blocking out the sun.

We don’t realize that these difficult days are instead going to bring life, great awakening, and desperately needed spiritual revival in our lives. This is actually a most amazing time to be alive. Some of us are very excited about what God has already begun to do in our communities, our country, and our world. We see the shadows of revival beginning all around us. But many of us won’t recognize it until it soars out beyond us.

We humans are comfort seeking creatures. We won’t cry out to our God until the pain comes. He can’t lead us to the soul healing waters unless we follow Him. Pain is necessary. I wish it wasn’t but it is. There is usually no other doorway to growth.

So yes, it may feel like we are stuck in the cemetery right now. But I promise you, there is victory hiding down in that culvert of vultures. Just look up. There is so much LIFE and JOY available to us if we just look up!