Bread From Heaven

Thursday, April 29, 2021
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Listen while you read: "O Happy Day"1 (Lyrics)

For the people in the Netherlands during what is called the Hunger Winter of 1944-1945, things were desperate. The country had been occupied for almost five years. It was a very cold winter, there was very little fuel left, food was in short supply, and many people were at their wits' end as to what to do. The extreme cold compounded the problem of food shortages. About 20,000 people had died through starvation, with a further 980,000 classed as malnourished.

We lived in a semi-agricultural area, so it wasn't so bad for us, since we had a good-sized garden. Dad kept a couple of goats for milk and their offspring for meat, and Mother had six chickens for eggs. But every day, people from Amsterdam, some 20 kilometres away, would come to the area where we lived, going from door to door, begging for something to eat, anything.

The occupying forces had blocked the movement of all supplies, hence the desperate situation. In retaliation, so I read, for ten days, starting on April 29th, 1945, the allied forces mounted "Operation Manna", flying 3,100 food missions and dropping nearly 7,000 tons of food over the occupied parts of the Netherlands. We saw part of it, as food was dropped near where we lived and was later distributed by the authorities. We received some canned goods and cereals, as well.

Similarly, the children of Israel were desperate for food after only a few days into the desert, having escaped from a life of slavery in Egypt. Some even wished that they had stayed in Egypt. They were quick to complain to their leader, Moses, who then heard from the Lord:

Exodus 16:4a,31 – Then the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you." And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. (NKJV)

There were certain instructions which had to be followed to the letter, and the people had food again. Through God's providence, their earthly needs were met.

After Jesus fed the 5,000, the people flocked to Him, thinking of more bread, but He encouraged them to do the works of God for food that endures to eternal life — by believing in Him, as the One Whom God had sent.

We are living at a time of great hunger for spiritual food to nourish the soul. There is so much restlessness, anger, disappointment, and unhappiness — we read about it and see it on television every day. What Jesus told the people who were gathered around Him is directed at us as well:

John 6:35 – And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." (NKJV)

How about you? Are you hungry for the Bread of Life? Jesus is saying to us, Come to Me, and I will satisfy your hunger now and always.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for the allied forces who fed the hungry on this day 76 years ago. We thank You for the manna that You provided for the Israelites in the desert. And we thank You for Your Son Jesus, the Bread of Life for all who believe in Him. We thank You in His name. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, Joel. Thanks for sharing.

    Thank you. An inspiring message.

    Thank you, Joel, for sharing this message. Blessings.

    Your devotional today is like bread from heaven. Thank you for it.

    It is always good to read your messages.
    Thank you.

    Wow, Joel! Thanks for sharing a wartime memory. Your writing always helps me.

    Thank you, Joel, for another wonderful devotion. It is both very interesting and inspirational.

    And do we have “food” to share? Or do we hoard it for ourselves. God’s supply does not run out.

    Thank you. This is a great devotional. I have forwarded to my little group of young adults. Keep well and keep writing.

    How difficult those days must have been! Thanking God for your witness to His provision. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.

    Thank you again for your devotional. Thank you for mentioning your experience in the Netherlands in the 40’s.

    Thank you for your message.
    God bless you for sending on your blessed message.
    I am sending your message on to my neighbours.
    Thank you.

    Thank you for this very descriptive devotional. I look forward to starting my day reading these.
    May God bless you and your family and keep you safe during these trying times.

    Thank you, Joel, for a thought-provoking message. Today we tend to forget what our forefathers have survived by the grace of God and we need to know and remember that Jesus is our manna today as it was from the beginning! Blessings and stay safe!!

    Thank you for today’s devotional. What a harrowing experience you endured and by the grace of God you are encouraging people today. We all need the nourishment that God in Christ Jesus brings. Thank you for beautifully illustrating this fact.
    Thank you.

    What a difficult situation for the people of your country, and such a vivid illustration of God’s Providence at work through the allied forces.
    What a perfect tie to Manna from Heaven. This is a perfect time to seek or share Jesus with others. Your insight is appreciated through your writing.
    This is a powerful call to action for God’s glory.

    Dear Joel,
    Thank-you very much for today’s devotional. I was feeling sorry for myself this morning and your devotional is helping me look beyond my own little problems and trust in the Bread of Life. There are so many people in the world with problems far more serious than mine. Thank you again for this devotional and the many others you have faithfully contributed over the years. May you be blessed today with wonderful moments of true peace and abundant joy.

    Thank you, Joel, for another good reading. I’m a Great Depression baby. When I was young Daddy was sent to a very small logging mill town. Almost everyone worked for the mill and lived in a very small mill house. The mill suddenly shut down and, as Daddy would say at home after church, that was a noisy offering today, and knew that was our salary. Sunday night offering went into the church treasury.
    The point is that everyone had to pitch in and help one another and our family did what we could. We always had a big garden and other things to share. We must be ready to help those in many different ways needed and our lives surely may be seen.

    Wow Joel, another great devotional.
    It’s good for us to be reminded of what our friends in the Netherlands and other European countries endured 76 years ago (before I was even born)! Makes the ‘complaints’ some people have about the Pandemic seem so petty. I’ve sometimes said to ‘gripers’ that at least we don’t have bombs being dropped and the Gestapo going up and down our streets (although, perhaps the virus is like the invisible Gestapo)! Now I could add info you just shared as well!
    I’m sure the food supplies being dropped would seem to be bread from heaven – love that analogy and of course, how blessed we are to know the Lord – the Bread of life!
    Take care and blessings to you.

    Morning, Joel,
    Like you, I remember World War II. We did not have the food deprivation of Europe, but there were shortages and actions that I remember we took in light of those shortages. One holiday at our ranch when the whole family gathered our son said, “While I do not want another war or Depression, I do think that our kids and even some of our generation could benefit from some kind of sacrifice. We are spoiled.” He is involved with his church and they are a Mission-oriented church, but that was still his take on things. Probably has some merit.
    My husband and I were on a cruise a few years ago. Aboard the ship were two professors who lectured on various topics. I visited one discussion group. When it was over, I said that I was surprised at the memories and conversations that still exist about WW II. One professor said, “IT will be at least two more generations before those memories are gone.” And, when they are gone, I wonder what….
    Thank you once more for writing a meaningful devotional with which to start my day.

    Thanks for a good word Joel!
    Be blessed.

    Good Morning Joel,
    Thanks for another good devotional!
    I’m sure you must have mentioned growing up in Holland before, but it just registered with me this time. My father’s parents were from Holland as well, and my sister has been able to visit some of our relatives there. It is always so amazing to me that even in the natural many of us have close ties. But in the spiritual realm, how much closer to have the same Father God, and the Lord Jesus uniting us as brothers and sisters in Him.
    May God continue to bless your ministry online and perhaps soon again in the retirement/nursing homes.

    Today I learned of the need for food, clothes in St. Vincent because of the volcano eruption that killed and destroyed. Many are responding to this tragedy, happy to be able to share their plenty.

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