SPIRIT OF FAITHFULNESS
By Christy Lowman
There are several different definitions of faithfulness. I like the simple way www.vocabulary.com puts it: Faithfulness is a commitment to something or someone. Most of the time faithfulness is thought of when a man and a woman get married and stay faithful to each other the rest of their lives or until death does them part. In the animal world, several animals mate for life. Some examples are Cardinals, doves, pigeons, wolves, coyotes, swans, and many others. It was hard to choose which animal to talk about when it comes to faithfulness but ultimately the salmon won.
Salmon are born in coastal freshwater rivers at their source. The source of a river is called its headwaters. Here they live for at least six months, some species stay here for up to three years. Then the salmon start an over 100-mile journey to the ocean where they will live between 1 to 7 years. On this trip to sea, they familiarize themselves with their surroundings and make mental notes by using their keen sense of smell so they can find their way back home after their seven years are up in the ocean. Some scientists believe the earth’s magnetic pull also helps them get back home. They embark on this great journey back so they can spawn and have their babies in the same waters they were born, where they know for a fact, that their babies will be safe and stand a chance to live. After all, they survived there. Spawning is when fish make a nest, mate, and lay eggs so they can have babies.
It is both miraculous and fascinating that salmon can live in both freshwater and salt water. This ability is called anadromous. Most fish are not able to live in both types of water. Exposure to a different water usually kills fish. But the Salmon can do it, and the Atlantic salmon can go back and forth several times in their lifetime if they can make it past the many predators and fishing nets. The Pacific salmon usually die after their first trip home because it uses all their energy to get back plus most of them stop eating after they spawn and make nests. The females make nests in the rocky riverbeds with their tails. After all of this, the salmon simply do not have the energy left to make the long trip back to the ocean.
Salmon’s sense of smell is so great that they can smell the teeniest, tiniest scent in a body of water as large as 10 gigantic swimming pools.
Salmon can change color as much as three times during their lives. Male salmon turn a bright red when it is time to spawn, sometimes they also grow a hump on their back (especially the pink salmon). Some will grow canine teeth or develop a curvature of the jawbone called a kype.
The smallest salmon is the pink salmon which usually only weighs 3-5 pounds but can reach 12 pounds and 30 inches long. The largest salmon is the Chinook/king salmon which can weigh as much as 130 pounds and can reach a length of 58 inches.
The word salmon is derived from the Latin language. The Latin word Salmo or salive means to leap. This word perfectly describes salmon because sometimes they must leap upstream in vigorous waters to get back home. There are videos of bears standing in the river catching salmon in their mouths when they leap out of the water.
This fish plays a large part in the ecosystem and survival of many other living things. Many trees, plants, insects, birds, and animals benefit from salmon. They have also been a huge source of meat for colonies in the past and still are for many people. Salmon meat is rich in Omega 3s, and vitamin D, and is high in protein. Salmon brings in approximately 10 billion dollars each year in income for the United States alone.
Now, back to how salmon made the top animal in my book for being faithful. Salmon travel over a hundred miles in the ocean, avoiding fisherman nets, sharks, orcas, seals, and several other oceanic predators to get back home to their freshwater river stream. You would think when they reach the freshwater stream the rest of the journey would be easy, but it is the hardest. The rivers are filled with vigorous, strong currents of water from the mountains. Here the salmon must fight as hard as it can to get up the streams and waterfalls to the headwaters of the rivers. Most of the time they must even jump and leap out of the water to move upward. Many of them get bruises, cuts, and scrapes from the rocks on their journey upstream. During this part of their journey, they have more fishermen to avoid, and new predators such as bears, wolves, eagles, and many others. Salmon are faithful in the fact that they will overcome this large feat even though the odds are high against them. They faithfully complete their journey, because if they don’t, their species will become extinct. No matter how hard things get or how discouraged the salmon gets, it keeps on going even though everything in their world is against them. They know at the end; their goal will finally be completed. I think they stopped eating at the end because they finished their mission in life. I like to think that they die happy knowing that their babies will be born safely and that they completed God’s purpose for their life.
How does this apply to you in your Christian walk? As Christians, the salmon and their story should give us hope, strength, and reassurance that we can overcome any obstacles and complete our goals and tasks. All we have to do is keep on going and not lose faith. This, however, is not possible if we don’t lean on God during our journey. We must pray and have Him along the way. He is our assurance.
As Christians we should also be faithful in many ways in our lives, staying faithful in our marriage, taking care of our parents, and taking care of other elderly people as well as widows and orphans. Feeding the hungry and helping those who are going through a disaster are just a few examples. We, as Christians, must be faithful to others in their time of need. After all, that is a big part of what being a Christian is about. We are told to be the light and hope in our world.
The salmon’s fight upstream to their spawning grounds is much like our daily walk as Christians. It can feel like an uphill battle filled with many obstacles, injuries, and predators waiting to consume us just off the path. Here we must always keep our faith and our eyes on Jesus. If we are steadfast and faithful at the end of our journey, just like the salmon, we will complete our mission and hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Dear Lord, I pray that you will guide us and help us be faithful Christians to others around us. Help us be the beacon of light and hope to others so they may see You in us. I thank you, dear Lord, for the animals you have brought before us that show us how to be faithful and what faithfulness is all about. We thank you also for Jesus who is faithful to us in all areas of our life. Help us lean on Your faithfulness in our times of need. In Jesus’s name, I pray, Amen.
“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8 ESV
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
Christy Lowman is a Christian author and illustrator that lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two children. She enjoys writing and illustrating books for all ages. Some of her short stories are published with Guideposts and HCI. Christy gives all the glory to God in everything she does. A portion of every book sold from the Small Bible Character Series will be donated to battle human trafficking. If you enjoy her books, “like’ her author page on Facebook and let her know! You can buy her books at //www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AChristy+Lowman&s=relevancerank&text=Christy+Lowman&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1. You can reach her at //www.facebook.com/authorChristyLowman/
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