Every fall, the Coho and Chinook salmon travel up the Grand River to spawn. And, every fall, my dad and his best friend Charlie would make the long trek to the Sixth Street Dam in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, to join the throng of anglers, each trying catch of few of these salmon.
Thinking back, I feel a little sorry for the fish. Some made it to the fish ladders and safely beyond the dam to their destination upriver. But, for those who didn’t… as the old saying goes, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Or, rather, hooking them.
All these poor salmon were doing were trying to fulfill their mission in life: the annual migration they were designed to make. Yet here, halfway into their momentous yearly trip, was a huge barrier. And a bunch of fishermen awaiting them, eager to take advantage of their plight. How frustrating it must have been to be one of the salmon that just couldn’t find its way to the ladders.
There are days when we feel like one of those salmon. We’re just trying to do what we feel God has called us to do, trying to get to our destination, trying to find the ladder.
Sometimes we hit a barrier.
Sometimes our attention is turned by the shiny jig and hook.
Sometimes we get reeled in and filleted.
If this is you today, take heart. You aren’t swimming upstream alone. You have a whole school of fish travelling with you. Most importantly, we have God with us. Remember, Jesus promised: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29, ESV).
Can’t find the ladder to safety ahd deliverance? You just might be looking in the wrong direction. Look to Jesus and swim easier.