A recent visit to a salmon hatchery in Alaska gave me a new-found respect for the way these fish were designed. There are several varieties of salmon (King or Chinook, Sockeye, Coho, and Pink), each unique in their appearance. However, all of them have the same characteristic of being able to orient themselves toward their original home when it is time for them to spawn. God has built into them their own global positioning system. Scientists believe that salmon navigate through the earth's magnetic field similar to the way a compass operates. It takes a salmon about one year to imprint by learning the smells and chemical nature of their surroundings during the first year of their lives.
As young fish, salmon migrate to the ocean where they gain the majority of their body mass. In their feeding grounds they consume foods that are high in carotenoids, which is the pigment that is stored in their flesh and gives them the pink-orange color. After spending two to five years in the ocean, their homing instinct becomes strong, and they begin their journey back to the place where they were born. It is believed that in addition to using the earth's magnetic field, salmon are conscious of the day length, the sun's position, water salinity, and temperature gradients. They travel from June through August in order to spawn between August and November. Salmon return to the stream where they were born because they know it is a good place to spawn. They have the ability to swim against the current, and it is reported that they can jump as high as twelve feet. Their homing instinct is so strong that if they get off track, they die.
If God designed salmon with such a homing instinct, can you imagine how He designed us as His children? Each of us has a God-given destiny that is meant to draw us into intimacy with Him. Acts 17:26-28 confirms the Lord's intentions for us. "From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are His offspring.'"
Coming to know the Lord personally is like finding our way home. The salmon come home to spawn so that the life of their species continues, and then they die. We come home to have everlasting life with the Lord and to join all creation in worshiping Him. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) The prophet Jeremiah describes the "GPS system" that is a part of God's people: "In those days, at that time...the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God. They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten." (Jeremiah 50:4-5)
Romans 1:19-20 describes the way God designed us. "In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart. Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world the invisible qualities of God's nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived for seeing the visible makes you understand the invisible. So, then, this leaves everyone without excuses." (TPT)
May I encourage you to use your internal "GPS System" to increase your intimacy with the Lord? All of us have an amazing blessing to be able to have a personal relationship with The Creator and Sustainer of all life. The Lord wants to spend eternity with us and calls us to stay on track as we make our way on His path of life.
Joan E. Mathias