Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Where Cross The Crowded Ways Of Life"1 (Lyrics)
It was 1940. I was just a six-year-old boy. I heard my parents, relatives, and friends talking about the possibilities of war in the place where we lived. I did not understand what that meant, and they explained to me that soldiers from another country would come to us, take over our country, and be in control.
There had been negotiations, and it was thought that there would be "peace in our time". But it was all to no avail, and on May 10, 1940, the German army came into our country. The Dutch army put up some resistance, but they were greatly outnumbered. We lived close to the airport, and there were German planes coming over to drop bombs. Innocent people were killed, properties were destroyed, dikes were damaged, and land was flooded.
On May 14, 1940, German airplanes dropped a great number of bombs on Rotterdam, causing widespread property damage, a complete shutdown of that busy port city, and the death of over 900 people. On that very day, the Dutch army capitulated. The strength of the enemy was too great, there were too many, and they were too well organized.
In February this year, we in North America were made aware of the real possibility that Russia would invade the nation of Ukraine. In a feeble effort to avoid this, there were negotiations by a great number of foreign diplomats. But it was all to no avail, and on February 24th, the Russian army started its invasion of that country. During the past week, we have seen pictures of the devastation and misery, as well as resistance by the local army and civilians. In an effort to discourage other nations from taking part, there have even been cloaked threats of nuclear warfare. Hundreds of thousands of people have left the country to nearby safe places. Many others have sought safety underground in subway stations, air-raid shelters, and basements.
In one of the video clips of the war in the Ukraine, I saw a young couple being married by a priest, with Christian pictures and symbols in the background. They were obviously Christian people in a church — brothers and sisters in Christ. Right after they were married, he went off to fight the enemy.
As I have watched all of this with sadness in my heart and prayers in my mind and mouth, memories have come flooding back to me. I find it so difficult to see God's hand in the events that we are witnessing at the present time. We may wonder why this is happening, and we may even wonder why God allows it to happen. But one thing that we do know for sure:
Isaiah 40:31 – Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)
May the people of Ukraine indeed receive strength from the Lord to cope with this terrible situation that has been so suddenly thrown upon them. Please pray — and continue to pray — with me:
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we are witnessing the death of adults and children, the destruction of property, and the plight of refugees, we earnestly pray that You will speak to the hearts of those who have the ability to stop this insanity and to return to peace. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Thanks for your message today and the prayer.
A very touching post, Joel. May all our prayers help.
Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and sharing. AMEN.
Thank you for this. It was so well written. I will continue to pray with you.
Thank you. May our God answer our prayers and stop this war and punish Putin.
A good Word for times like this Joel. Good to see your mediation(s) again! Blessings.
We do wonder why God allows evil to prevail, but we also know everything is in His hands.
Amen, Joel! Thanks for sharing this encouraging devotional with us!
Mr. Joel Jongkind, I just read your devotional for today. I was also 6 years old. I lived in gelder land. God bless you and thank you.
Thank you so much, Joel, for such a meaningful devotional. Your personal experiences add so much, and we appreciate your relevant and timely topic.
Thank you for this message reminding us that whatever happens here on earth, God will sustain us. I am glad you are back as a faithful contributor to the Daily Devotional.
Thank you, Joel, we join with you in calling on the Lord on behalf of the people of Ukraine, Russia (many do not want war!), and the surrounding nations.
Amen to that prayer, Joel.
Be blessed, and let us continue to pray, earnestly, for the dear people of Ukraine.
O, YES, Joel! You have helped SO many today with your life story and how it relates to NOW! Our God knows and cares and someday we’ll understand about the why.
Thank you, Joel, for your writings today and I am praying right along with that prayer you have written. Blessings for these special writings you deliver.
Thank you for today’s thoughtful devotional.
I do hope your surgery was successful and you are reviving well.
Thank you, Joel, I join you in this prayer.
May God’s richest blessings be with the people of Ukraine and those who assist in bringing about peace.
Thank you, Joel, for this contribution, and your others. May indeed the Lord have mercy. May we take up our task and speak for what we know to be right.
This was a very timely and touching devotional. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reflections of today’s similarity to WWII days. Thank you, too, for reminding and encouraging us to pray for the people of Ukraine.
Thank you for continuing to share your life experiences with others. We are blessed to have you in ours. Prayers for you and for world peace.
May God continue to bless you and your special ministry.
Thank you, Joel. We must all pray without ceasing and help in any way possible.
Many times it is said “This can never happen again”. And yet it is.
Keep Safe. Keep Healthy and may God’s Blessings be with you.
I was ten years old in 1940 in Scotland and I well remember spending many nights in an air raid shelter with my mother and two younger brothers, while my father was helping on the streets. Thank you for sharing. In life and death, we are never alone.
We enjoyed your devotional. You know firsthand what war is!! We think of you often and hope you are feeling stronger each day.
Take care and stay safe.
Thank you, Joel, for this heartfelt devotional. I have spoken to people from war torn countries who are taking the Ukraine disaster very hard, because they know what invasion is like for civilians. Your testimony encourages me to keep praying.
Dear Joel, amen ! Thank you so much for this devotional. I feel deeply that this is very painful for you personally. It certainly is painful for our world! God be with you Joel and with the people in these warring countries, and those who are doing what they think is right to help.
I have tears in my eyes, but I have hope in my heart from reading your devotional. A good passage and a great prayer for all of us to use and remember.
Thank you for your memories and your thoughts. Be well.
Thank you for your message today. I pray that many will pray your prayer daily. It is so tragic that this is happening and hard for many of us to even begin to imagine. You know firsthand. Lord have mercy on the people of Ukraine.
P.S. I hope you are fully recovered from your surgery and feeling well. Blessings.
Thank you for your devotion today. So well done that I can almost feel the pain in your heart.
This present “war” is a disaster, again pitting man against man. I pray God will give you comfort as this brings back memories from 1940.
Blessings your way.
Thank you so much for that. We all need to pray for that, and we know that God has power over everything and can fight the enemy for us. Just look at Gideon in the Bible. I know God will stop this horrible thing going on over there. Thank you for the prayer and I am continuing to pray every day.
Oh Joel, I can’t even imagine what it was like for you as a youngster to experience such horrors. Today, my heart aches and, like you, I too pray for the people of Ukraine. Thank you for sharing a very real part of your history and your faith that stands firm in spite of circumstances.
May your words become our prayer as well.
Thank you for your memory message and praise the Lord you are still living and praying. How we need God’s mercy and love as it is expressed in Psalm 136 as translated “mercy” in NKJV and “love” in the NIV. Praise the Lord you can now be in Canada. My relatives came from Holland in the late 1800’s although my grandfather served two stints in the Holland army before he came to America. Thank you for your prayer and testimony.
I cannot imagine the heart wrenching experiences war brings. I too am praying for Godly wisdom, and peace, I would like to scream to the ones fighting the Russians. Sing like they did back in the Bible and even though outnumbered, they had victory over the enemy!!! I truly feel God crying over this, and thankful He is in control in whatever way He sees fit.
God bless you and your family Joel!!!
Thank you so much for your devotional today! Your horrifying experience as a child has allowed you to share with us what we need to see happening today in Ukraine. Our hearts can be so hardened that we feel numb.
I also thank you from a historical perspective. I did not realize the devastation suffered by the Dutch people. We need to realize just how tragic WWII was! I thank God that even in the midst of tragedy He cares for us.
Thank you for sharing this with us!
Like you, I wonder why God is allowing this to happen in Ukraine. It seems that Putin has underestimated the Ukrainian people, and I pray that P. might come to his senses and stop this nonsense. I know that God is in control and pray that He will keep Putin from using nuclear weapons which could be disastrous. We don’t want another world war. It seems that most of the world is against Putin.
May we continue to be encouraged by what God is doing, even though we don’t see it.
Good Morning, Joel, and thank you for your continued dedication to providing devotionals for PresbyCan! Today, your message is truly from your heart, from one who has been ‘there’, experienced ‘that’, and with God’s support and guidance, has come through the experience of living in an invaded country. The people of this world must continue to pray for the safety of the residents of Ukraine. May world leaders be granted the ability and wisdom to find a way to peaceful solutions.
Thank you! Blessings!
Thank you for your devotional today. I am a chaplain in a nursing home and many of the residents are Dutch Canadians. Watching this news is very difficult for them. They remember that nothing stopped Hitler until the world came together to fight and we were embroiled in a world war. They fear that a world war will happen and that it will be much different this time.
Thank you for your words and the reminder that God is walking with us through this time. Your words have shown me where I can help my residents.
Even as I encourage my Prayerline members to pray for Ukraine, I struggle with what we are to pray for specifically. I end up pleading for God’s mercy for the Ukrainian people. Today’s Ottawa Citizen has the headline, “ Waiting For a Miracle” on the front page, over a picture of a Ukrainian woman crying. Probably she is also praying. Our world leaders are not asking for prayer, but our prayers for that miracle, for the intervention of Almighty God, are more powerful than all the guns and ammunition we can send. All my Christian friends and family are praying with us.
Thank you for this timely devotional. I hope you are recovered from your surgery.
Thank you for that beautiful prayer.
Thank you and praying with you.
There are a few of us who remember WW II, although my memories are not as graphic as yours. I was three when the war started, and we lived in New York at the time. My Dad was apparently too old to be drafted. He did serve as chairman of the rationing board. My two uncles served and we hung the flag in our window with two blue stars, fortunately, not gold. One of my most vivid memories is going with my parents to Times Square in New York City on VE Day.
Thank you for writing…we need to remember.
Best wishes to you.