Salamander Crossing

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
If you had been driving through the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, on a warm, drizzly evening one April, you might have seen a group of people, some old and some young, standing in the rain by the edge of the road.
What are these people doing, you might have wondered. Could they be having a picnic? No, because there are no tables and no food.
Are they looking for something that has been lost? No, because the way to look for something lost is to spread out and walk around, but these people are just standing there all bunched together.
Let's suppose that you decide to stop and find out what's happening. So you park your car and walk over. You see someone who looks friendly and ask, "Why is everybody standing out here getting wet?"
"You are new here, I can tell, otherwise you would already know."
"Yes, I was passing through and saw all these people standing around in the rain. What would I already know if I wasn't new here?"
"That we're standing out here to see if the salamanders crawl through the tunnels." "What tunnels?"
"Those tunnels over there," your new friend says, pointing a short distance away to some small tunnels going under the road. "We put them in this winter and we have been waiting until now to see if the salamanders would go through them after they awakened from their winter's hibernation."
"Why can't they just walk across the road?"
"That's what they have always done, but so many of them get run over by cars that a group of us got together and decided to do something about it. We had these tunnels dug under the road so that the salamanders would have a safe way to get to the other side of the highway.
"See, here comes another salamander out of the woods. He's headed right for the tunnels... oh no.. he's going right by them," says your friend.
"Looks like he doesn't know what's good for him," you reply.
"Nope, hardly any of them do. Out of fifty salamanders crossing so far this evening, only one of them has used a tunnel."
"The salamanders just don't know what's good for them, I guess."
We were just supposing you had stopped in Amherst and had had this conversation, but the facts of the story are true. In Amherst the people were so concerned about those little reptiles crossing the road and getting killed that they installed the world's first salamander safety tunnels under their highway. But they were disappointed that first night when only one out of fifty crawled through a tunnel.
God has also prepared a way of escape that many are ignoring. He has sent the good news of the gospel to many, many thousands of men, women and children (in fact, to everyone). Through the Bible and His servants, God has pleaded with each one of us to accept His already-prepared way to be saved from our sins. "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and... He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3-43For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1 Corinthians 15:3‑4)). But so many have ignored His plan of salvation and continue to follow the way that leads to death.
God is still sending the good news of His love and grace to all people. Rom. 10:1515And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:15) reads, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" They have "beautiful feet" because they carry the loveliest message that man has ever heard. It's a message that reveals, like nothing else ever could, the immense love in God's heart. It is hard to understand why many are not interested in it when they hear it, and why they ignore God's loving and free way of salvation.
After learning about the forty-nine salamanders who ignored the safety tunnels, you might have thought to yourself that those salamanders were not smart enough to know what those tunnels were for. The same cannot be said of you and the way of salvation. God has given you enough intelligence to under-stand that you are a sinner and need a Savior. "I wasn't able to understand the gospel" will never do as an excuse for not believing God's good news. In fact, there are no excuses for not believing it.
Will you be among those who accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior and safely reach heaven? Or will you be among the many who ignore Him and are cast into outer darkness? "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" (John 3:1818He 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. (John 3:18)).