When the Buzzards are Circling

A few years ago, I was reintroduced to the idea that we can actually hear from God. When I consider it, the thought is still staggering—that the creator of the vast and intricate universe speaks to me. Even more, when I don’t hear him the first time, he repeats the message until I finally listen. God loves us and wants what is best for us, so of course he wants us to check in from time to time for some guidance. 

Have you ever heard or read the same passage of scripture several times in a short span before you realized God was using it to tell you something?

He speaks to all of us in different ways. Once, he spoke to my husband through a guy who isn’t even a Christian. God knew something very specific my husband needed to hear in just that moment, and he used a normal guy—a guy who doesn’t believe in God—to speak it. That’s just like God, though. I thought, good one, God.

Most often, God uses analogies from nature to speak to me. I grew up playing in the woods and have always felt more peaceful in nature. By understanding how detailed and interwoven life in a forest can be, I understand the how good and inexplicable God is. How he plans things in advance, how dependent one life is on another, and how wildly creative he is.

Now that I know he wants to tell me things about my life, I make it a point to really listen. It’s like when I first got married and joined a women’s Bible study with a bunch of women who had been married for decades. They taught me so much and prayed for me. Seeking godly wisdom is like taking a short cut and saving ourselves so much trouble.

Seeking God’s wisdom is even better because he loves us more than anyone ever will and knows us better too. He made the future, and wants us to make the most of the path he set before us.

A few weeks ago, we were in the family minivan leaving our neighborhood when a giant turkey buzzard swooped in front of our car. My husband and I remarked how strange it seemed to see one in our Nashville neighborhood, with the houses close together and people everywhere.

Miles down the road, we saw a several vultures feasting on a deer carcass, while others waited a few feet away for their turn. Later, we witnessed an even larger group of carrion-feeders doing what they do. All weekend, these scenes continued until we began to wonder if God was giving us some kind of warning. Apart from God’s wisdom, this recurring theme was quite unsettling.

Monday morning, after dropping my children at preschool, I decided to take a Sabbath for myself at Radnor Lake to be in nature and seek God’s wisdom, almost fearing a response about what he might be preparing my mind to receive. He had my attention, but I still needed to quiet myself enough to hear from him. On my way I saw more buzzards on the side of a busy road. I wasn’t surprised, but I knew it was finally time to ask and prepare my heart for what it might hear.

As I prayed and hiked I finally asked, Lord, what’s with the carrion-feeders?! Is something terrible going to happen?

God’s peace rushed over me as his voice said, Remember, I made the buzzards, and they serve a function in the ecosystem—to carry away what’s already dead. They’re not coming for you. They are coming for what’s already dead.

A few days later, through circumstances completely out of my control, it became clear what was dead. Had God not prepared me, it would have felt like a devastating loss, and a huge betrayal, but I have peace about it that doesn’t make sense. Only God can provide that.

Rather than leaving a difficult situation in front of me to rot, he’s sending something to carry it away. Without his preparation, I would still be reeling. New life will come in its place, and I’m so grateful.

What is God speaking to you today? If you quiet yourself, I’m sure he will speak.

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