2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
James and Kati Kim left San Francisco to travel to Seattle for Thanksgiving. With the holiday over, they started home. There was to be a night at an expensive lodge on November 25. But they missed their turnoff from Interstate 5 and, after checking a road map, decided to get off and travel a secondary road to their destination at Gold Beach, Oregon.
With their daughters, four-year-old Penelope and seven-month-old Sabine, they drove for about a dozen miles. Then, in what would prove to be a terrible mistake, they took a fork to the right and started down the road where they would soon be stranded. Because of the danger of that route during winter, there is a locked metal gate to keep people from going that way. It was secured against traffic November 1. But a vandal had cut the lock and done away with the barrier!
Thus four people came to be stranded in rugged territory. They couldn't get a cell phone signal. All they could do was try to survive until either they could figure a way out of the remote area or search teams could find them.
Dwindling gasoline meant they could warm their car only occasionally. They found some wood to burn and then burned their car tires. When they exhausted their baby food and bottled water, they melted snow. Kati nursed the two girls. Stranded for more than a week now, James knew he had to do something. On Saturday, December 2, he started out on foot in the direction he and Kati believed the nearest help could be found. He walked for more than ten miles in the snow before dying of exposure and hypothermia.
Searchers found and saved Kim’s wife and daughters on Monday, December 4. His body was found two days later. There would be no fairy-tale ending to the story. People around the world have grieved with the 35-year-old man’s family.
The story is a moving testimony to one man’s love for his family. For many Christians, it is yet another metaphor for the mission of the one whose birth we celebrate in the Christmas season. In a world that headlines crime and abuse, terrorism and violence, indifference and turning away, love still exists. Great sacrifices are still made. Humans created in God’s very image are capable of imitating his own self-giving love.
James Kim’s desperate attempt to save them is a testimony to one man’s love for his family. As one person put it, he leaves them this legacy: “I did it for you!”
If you’re struggling to find your way, Jesus has been trying to get through to you since Bethlehem. It was so perilous a mission that it cost him his life. The gospel says he did it for you. And – in case you've wondered – yes, he’d do it all again.
Dear Lord, Thank You for what You did for us. Help us never forget the great love You showed by giving your Life so that we may have eternal Life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.