Standing at the top of the Russian River Falls Trail I could not help but be overwhelmed by the majesty of God’s creation. Despite the forecast rain it was a beautiful day. The entire walk up seemed effortless and enjoyable, but it was not until we reached the top that I felt God really stirring inside me. It was a combination of things: the birds flying and singing, the sound of the water rushing over the rocks, the bears scooping up fish, and the salmon trying to swim upstream. Everything about this idyllic scene drove me into the very presence of God as I felt awed by the wonder of His creation.
I spent quite some time watching one particular salmon trying to swim upstream. It was an isolated spot, safe from predators, and it was repeatedly trying to jump the rocks to get to the next part of the stream. I watched as this fish jumped repeatedly only to run face first into a rock. I kept waiting for that fish to stop. Part of me wanted to go down there and help the fish over another part of me thought the fish was an absolute moron for not realizing that he could not go on. But that salmon was relentless and in the entire time I was there never stopped trying.
While watching the salmon leap the image of the apostle Paul came to mind. Here is a man that had a single-minded focus. He was relentless. He never stopped regardless of the obstacles that popped up in front of him; he never stopped until the day he died. He was beaten to within an inch of his life, shipwrecked more than once, imprisoned multiple times, and once driven to the edge of town where the citizens picked up rocks and stoned him until he stopped moving and left him for dead.
Through all of that Paul can still write these words: “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13, NLT)
If Paul had been standing next to me watching the salmon repeatedly rise only to be knocked down again, I believe, he would completely identify with the fish. Whatever insane biological imperative drives the salmon to swim nonstop to the spawning grounds and its death, one cannot fail to see the parallel to the life we are called to live in God.
He wants us to be single-minded and have a laser like focus on Him. In a time when it seems like pockets of chaos are erupting around the planet and even our peace here at home seems to be eroding away, He is calling us to focus our complete attention on Him. Regardless of the craziness of the world we can all find peace and contentment in Christ. This week seek the peace that passes all understanding and remember that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength!
Pastor AL Weeks and his family serve in First Baptist Church of Kenai. The folks at FBCK are a warm fellowship of believers that are committed to speaking the truth in love! Join them Sunday mornings at 10:45 a.m.