This particular post is dedicated to my former high school english teacher, Mr. Tim Clutter. For the year and a half that he was my teacher, he never gave up on helping me improve my writing, and I finally listened. Thank you for never giving up on me, helping me become a better writer, and teaching me how to "make connections!" I will never be able to thank you enough.
I think most of what we know about salmon is that they are a delicious type of fish that most people enjoy eating on occasion, usually at a fancy restaurant or during a special event or celebration.
According to Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Salmon are found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with a wider variety of species being found in the Pacific. Salmon are typically born into bodies of fresh water. After birth, they migrate out to whatever ocean is closest to them, and then spend about 1 to 5 years, depending on their species, becoming sexually mature before returning to their place of birth to spawn.
What’s particularly fascinating about salmon is that they swim upstream to return to their place of birth in order to spawn. According to Wikipedia, “Salmon can make amazing journeys, sometimes moving hundreds of miles upstream against strong currents and rapids to reproduce. Chinook and sockeye salmon from central Idaho, for example, travel over 900 miles (1,400 km) and climb nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m) from the Pacific Ocean as they return to spawn.”
That’s ridiculous. All I can say from this bit of information is that Salmon are amazing creatures that make the impossible, well, completely possible. That’s a pretty badass sea creature right there.
The journey of a salmon upstream to lay its eggs in the place that it was born has got to be a journey of insanity, struggle, hardships, surprises, blessings, and downfalls. Although I am personally not a salmon, I could predict that it’s probably a very tiring and tough journey. Salmon have to fight to swim upstream for such long distances. Let’s face it, they are simply not going with the flow of things. I bet if fish could talk, they would look at all salmon and make fun of them for trying to do this. They would probably wonder why they were doing this. I mean, why waste your time trying to go against the flow when you can just go with the flow and life could be so much easier?
Another special thing about salmon is that they don’t give up. They don’t just decide to lay their eggs in a different place because it’s just too hard to swim upstream. Some salmon may end up dying on their journey, but that doesn’t mean they ever give up. To salmon, the goal they are trying to reach is much too important to simply give up on. It’s really strange that they do that, but it’s pretty much in their instinct to do this, just like dogs somehow naturally know how to swim. Salmon naturally know that they need to swim upstream, no matter what the cost is.
And thinking about salmon makes me think about the typical life of a Christian man or woman. The life of a Christian is so similar to the life of a salmon. First of all, the life of a Christian is going to be tough. It brings insanity, struggle, hardships, surprises, blessings, and downfalls, just like that of a salmon. Following Christ is definitely not an easy task at all, and I know that many of you reading this can testify to this just as I am able to also.
In the same way, Christians don’t go with the flow of anything. They make the conscious decision to go against the normal tide of things. Let’s be honest, the lifestyle of a Christian is very strange and different from the lives of most people, and they are often persecuted for it. Swimming with the tide of the river symbolizes the way of the world and swimming against the tide symbolizes the ways of God and his kingdom.
And in a place where the world is the norm, going with the ways of the kingdom is tough. It’s obviously not normal, and it doesn’t appear normal either. And like I said before, it’s definitely not easy. And the people who are truly committed to the mission of Christ never give up and never will give up, even though sometimes they may want to give up.
And do you know why they will keep holding on? Why they won’t abandon this cause? Because they truly believe it is worth it, just like the salmon believe that their mission is worth it. They believe that the mission of Christ is absolutely real and is absolutely worth it, and they won’t stop following Him just because life gets hard. They know there will be peace eternally.
For me, suffering presently for an eternal peace is completely worth it, but what’s even more worth it is spreading the love of God to all of the places I possibly can. Because truthfully, life sucks without knowledge and acceptance of God’s love. I mean really, think about it. Why the heck are we here? Do we just live here, do what we feel like, and then die?
We think about these questions because we were created to have a purpose. We were built with a compartment inside of us that is specifically for our purpose, but we always have trouble finding it.
And with God's love we are able to find our purpose, because that's what we were made for. Even though it may be tough, it is absolutely 100% worth it in the end. And I’m not just saying this because I’m crazy. People all over the world are saying the exact same thing. People in your town, in your state, and in your country are saying the exact same thing. People everywhere are following the exact same thing. And they’re not giving up.
People everywhere are deciding to take on the difficult lifestyle of a salmon, because they know it will be worth it. They know it is the purpose that they have been made for.
And if you ever feel like giving up, read this passage from 1 Corinthians:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wealth, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
So, just keep swimming, like all of those salmon do for distances up to 900 miles. Don’t give up, because you know that living for Jesus and running for the prize at the end is worth it. After all, “They never promised it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”