My Way Home


Jumping Salmon (Juneau)                            Wooden Fish ladder (Whitehorse)

It would be very hard for anyone to lose his way home in today's society. GPS, maps, tourist information booths… These are all geared to help us find our way around. Even if someone woke up with complete amnesia, his identity could be traced through his fingerprints and he could still find his way home. In spite of this, some people still manage to get lost, some even ending up in Timbuktu, wherever that is.

Amazingly, although nature does not have any of these navigational aids, none of nature's creatures ever get lost.

Take for example the Chinook salmon. It lives the first two years of its life in the fresh water of the Yukon River. It then migrates to the Bering Sea where it lives for the next four or five years. It is now approaching the end of its life, but it has one last trek to make. It must return to its place of birth, and to do so, it sometimes has to travel more than 3,200 kilometres up the Yukon River. And all of this without the help of AAA!

But this is no ordinary trip back into nostalgia. The salmon has a specific purpose for returning home. It is returning to spawn, and then to die.

Quite noble, don't you think?

And to make things more interesting, the Chinook Salmon won't eat during the three months it takes to make the arduous trip from the ocean to Whitehorse. Instead, it relies on stores of fat alone for its energy. (Hopefully it is fat enough!)

A similar story can be told for the salmon found in Alaska, in British Columbia, or anywhere in the world, for that matter. The salmon will always return to its birthplace to spawn.

Talk about faithfulness!

Sometimes human structures (dams, for example) interfere with the salmon's migratory trek. To remedy this, fish ladders, such as the Whitehorse Rapids Fishway, are built, thus permitting the fish to reach its destination. It is interesting to note that barely 3% of the salmon spawned ever makes it back home. The others succumb to predators or disease.

The salmon's faithfulness in returning to its birthplace is a wonderful reminder to us. In our trek through life, we are also going to our Heavenly home. It is easy to get off track, however, for there are many dangers (trials, temptations, addictions, etc.) that can prove fatal to our eternal souls. We need to continuously check and make sure we are on the right path, that we haven't somehow managed to swim down the wrong river!

How do we do this? By checking regularly with our "original source" manual and its author: The Word of God and His Holy Spirit. Only the Word of God and His Holy Spirit can point us in the right direction all of the time. Only these guides can prevent us from becoming easy prey.

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matt 7:13-14 NIV)

"Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17 NIV)

"When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13 NIV)

Do you have a fishing rod? Good. Instead of using it to catch migrating Salmon, why not use it to become a fisher of men? Many are lost and in dire need of direction.

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt 4:19 NIV)

By the way, do you know the way to Timbuktu?

Rob Chaffart

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