When Brendan and I were in Seschelt our friend Ivan took us for a drive up along the coast.
We parked near a bay and our host told us he often went fishing there. The salmon were abundant in these waters and one was sure of a catch. What an ideal way to spend an evening in the sunset on his little boat in the bay. This certainly was the good life.
We stopped off at a coffee shop. Some people called over to us and told us “The salmon are running!”
There was a small river flowing nearby. We crossed over to it and sure enough we saw salmon spawning in the shallow waters. What an oppportunity for us!
While Brendan and I rejoiced to see this feature of nature before our eyes, our friend took some video footage. We were all excited as we spent those moments. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
Salmon live their adult life in the waters of the ocean. The Pacific is a big ocean, and millions of salmon return up the many rivers along the Canadian coast in Autumn. There are many types of salmon. The Sockeye is the biggest and most popular salmon caught. Wild bears and eagles have a feeding frenzy when the fish return.
The salmon has one goal, to return to the place where they were born to hatch their young. Once they leave the salt waters and enter the fresh water of the river the salmon stop feeding. They start the hazardous journey upstream over rapids, waterfalls and potholes to get to the shallow water when they can swim no further.
There the female releases her eggs in the sandy water bed and the male fertilises them. The parent salmon work is done. Every ounce of their energy has been used to get to their destination. They die soon afterwards.
We watched as the salmon released their eggs in that Creek. There were queues of fish waiting in the shallows to take their turn to lay their eggs. Perhaps they were not so keen to go forward because they knew their end was near.
Brendan, our friend and I savoured this moment. What is nature saying to us?
As I pondered on this I thought of my own life as a parent. Our goal as parents is to raise our young and help them through the stormy waters that we have passed through and show them the way.
The salmon entering the fresh water begins the journey of dying to self. This is symbolic of the one who decides to follow Jesus as well. He leaves the ocean, which represents the world and enters into the river of The Holy Spirit. Just like the salmon one has to die to self so more of the life of Christ lives in us.
As I get older I realise that on my journey in the river of the Holy Spirit I have had to die many times to my own will. As I trust God ‘s leading in my life I have peace. I can pass what I have learnt on to my children. I do not have to die physically like the salmon, but I have to die to my own will. The following scripture sums up the Christian journey.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen (Jesus the author and finisher of our faith) since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:7, 16, 18 NIV)