Kenneth Howard disappeared on the evening on Mother’s Day. Slipping away from his parent’s view, the 22-month -old walked into an adventure of almost unheard of dimensions.
He disappeared for 66 hours, escaping the frantic search of Kentucky State Police, volunteers, neighbors, and tearful and fearful relatives. They never lost hope.
The drama ended when the not-quite-2-year-old was found, cold and dehydrated but safe on a cliff overlooking Raccoon Road in the heavily wooded area of Floyd County, Kentucky. He repeated, “Here all night!” after they hoisted him to safety.
The rescuers, veterans of searches that had ended far more tragically, burst into tears of joy to find the little guy curled up on the cliff. They put him in a makeshift basket made from a backpack with two holes get out of the bottom for his legs and carried him to safety.
But did you see the Gospel in the rescue? Many called this a true “miracle,” and it was. But no more so and, in fact, not even as great as the miracle of a lost man, woman, boy or girl who find themselves “rescued” from a fate far worse than an unforgiving wilderness.
It is God who seeks. It is God who sent His only begotten Son to “seek and save (rescue) those who are lost.” The Gospel message was writ large in the headlines of this compelling story with a happy ending.
It is a reminder that, without Jesus, you are facing a far worse fate that lasts eternally. Hell is not a theory or fairy tale. But this account also serves as a reminder that there is hope; there is a Rescuer come from the Father to find the lost ones.
We thank God for Kenneth’s rescue. It is truly the grace of God that led them 1,755 feet from his parent’s yard to his perilous perch on a ragged cliff.
But how much more does Heaven rejoice when one lost sinner returns safely to His Father’s arms? Do you see the Gospel? Do you hear the Rescuer’s voice calling for you?
And if you have been rescued by the Savior, have you joined the search party for those still to be found?
The cause has never been more compelling and the stakes never higher.
Jesus the Savior is still calling. Let’s join the rescue party! And if you are on the edge today, call out! He will hear.
And He will come.
Tim Maynard, a Kentucky native and graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is pastor of Fruit Cove Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.