It’s that time again, the yearly salmon run. We live close to the Cowichan River and during the annual salmon run, we go for a walk on the path that borders the river, with little paths here and there that go down to the water. The air is filled with the sound of the gulls that are flying all around, whether or not they are trying to get the fresh eggs, or are feeding on the dead salmon, I do not know, probably it’s both. Some of the salmon are still jumping although they are in the minority, most are near the shore swimming very slowly, soon to join their dead fellow salmon.
Seeing these salmon up close, I always find the sight to be very sad and think about their lives. Further down the river path there is a little pond where last year’s salmon babies are swimming around with not a care in the world. At some point they will enter the river and go downstream to Cowichan Bay and then on to the ocean where, if they are lucky enough to escape being eaten by a predator or caught by a fisherman, they will live until the point where they are driven to come back to the place of their birth where they struggle to go upstream, and finally die a slow death. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die:……”
I tried to look at this from my human point of view, and thought about being a Christian going through life, going through trials and tribulations along the way. For a Christian, always that old devil is going about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” By the grace of God, as we trust him, he will bring us through these trials. And then we reach our final years. No longer strong, moving much more slowly. And then in God’s time for us, we leave this earth, sometimes peacefully, sometimes plagued by illness and suffering. Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” The Christian at death is absent from the body and present with the Lord, awaiting the resurrection. 2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
What about the person who goes through life, eventually reaching the end of their days and dying without ever having believed the gospel, choosing rather to rejecting it outright, rather “I’ll do it my way”. Unlike the salmon who dies and is gone, the unbeliever at death goes to a place of torment. Luke 16:16-31 is the story of the rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. When the beggar died he was “carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom”, the place of rest but the rich man “also died and was buried. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom”. The rich man calls for mercy, and says that he is “tormented in this flame”
And so, dear reader, what will happen on that day when you leave this earth? You won’t be like the salmon, for you have a soul and that soul belongs to God, whether you be Christian or not. Will you believe the gospel? will you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ so that when you leave this earth you will be in the place of rest? or will you be in torment.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God“.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world though him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
1 Timothy 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory”