Faith During Adversity

Friday, June 14, 2024
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Listen while you read: "Safe In The Arms Of Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

Matthew 5:44 – But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. (NKJV)

During the occupation of the Netherlands from 1940 to 1945, about 25,000 people were imprisoned for interrogation and prosecution in a jail near The Hague. Most were members of the resistance, and others were Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses. Some were tried and set free, others were sent on to concentration camps in the Netherlands and in Germany, and some were executed.

On May 5, 2024, it was 79 years since the occupation of the Netherlands was finally over. On that day, Greta and I watched a song service from a church in the Netherlands that commemorated the event. The leader told how his father had been imprisoned in that jail and how the family had prayed for him every day. After some months, he was released.

Some time before the service, he had visited the jail, now a museum, with his grandson. He showed some pictures of notes written by some of the prisoners, like "Stay strong" and "Keep the faith". There were faith statements and Bible texts, like this one:

Psalm 18:1-2 – I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (NKJV)

It was obvious that some of these men had faith in God, and that it gave them strength to cope. The leader of the service told us how his father had suffered during his time in prison, but also about the friends he had made and how they comforted each other while they saw others being taken to their execution. Records show that over 250 people were shot in the dunes not too far from the prison.

On March 13, 1941, eighteen men were taken to the dunes for their execution, and on the way, they sang verse four of Psalm 43, which I translated in part from my mother's Dutch Psalter Hymnal:

    Then I will go to God's altar high above
    To God, my God, the fount of joy and love
    Then I will sing with harp and voice
    And in His home, I will rejoice
    When after a short time in pain and war
    He will comfort me in peace forever more

One thing became abundantly clear: some of the people kept their faith, they comforted each other, and they were assured through the words of Scripture that God was their refuge and strength, indeed a very present help in times of trouble.

It is really a challenge to question whether we would have the faith, strength, and fortitude to stand strong like that in similar circumstances today.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray for all people who are at this time being persecuted, and we pray that they, too, may keep the faith. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing that wonderful story, Joel.

    Thanks, Joel, for another meaningful devotional.

    Thanks Joel. Blessings to you and your family.

    Thank you. Sincerely,

    Amen and amen, Joel. To God be the glory! Thanks for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thank you, Joel. What a challenging story of the bravery of those people! I pray we all will have that strong faith when our time of trial comes.

    Thank you, Joel, for sharing with us this morning. Very powerful! Though we wonder if we could withstand what people at those times did, we certainly know the God who helped them.

    Dear Joel.
    Recently I have been memorizing Psalm 18: 1, 2. Thank you so much for sharing this message about these Christian heroes.

    Dear Joel,
    Indeed I do not know, but hope, I would have the same rock faith. Despair comes to mind, but underneath, hopefully faith.

    Many thanks Joel for another of your special devotionals. Very sad happenings in the Netherlands at that time but uplifting to hear of the strong faith and devotion of those that fought the battle. Blessings for your writings.

    Good morning, Joel,
    I cannot imagine what these people endured! It is amazing the strength God gives to those in need of it.
    God bless.

    Powerful Joel!
    He has Risen ! Glory to His name !! It doesn’t matter what is happening in our world today – He reigns and rules over all! May that give us peace!

    My father was very active in the Resistance movement in the Netherlands during WWII. Fortunetly, he was never imprisoned but had many close calls. His stories speak to the bravery of the men and women in this movement. I am glad your father was released and returned to you. Praise God.

    Oh yes! I am so aware of how little our faith has been tested! We experience the trials of our ordinary lives, but the reality of what you have written, would we rise? Or would we falter? Hard to know. So like the early believers. But after 76 years of knowing God and His love and mercy, how could I not stand in my place and sing His praises. If we choose Him, He will give us the strength. I believe. Bless you!

    You are so right, Joel….would we have the strength and faith to face the challenges that prevailed during WW II? When I was 8 years old, that war ended. We lived at that time in a suburb of New York City. My parents took me into Times Square for the celebration and even though it was years ago, I will never forget it.
    Thank you for your thought-provoking devotional.

    Joel, as I read your recounting of what so many people faced and endured, I did question how I would have coped (even before I got to your paragraph re the same Q.).
    Last night, we were under a tornado watch/warning and found myself, now on my own, getting unnerved. THEN, the old hymn, “Till the Storm Passes By” came to mind and I calmed.
    Without that assurance, I probably would have been a ‘basket case’.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Goedemorgen Joel,
    Wow! You took my breath away while reading your devotional today.
    Thank you for sharing your memories with us.
    Thank you for using your Mom’s Dutch Psalter Hymnal and sharing with us the words. It is so appreciated.
    I would love to read my own one day as I have begun my Dutch learning and integration.
    Thank you for your beautiful writing !

    Oh Joel, your words are all too often convicting!
    As I read, I was reminded of funeral I presided over some years ago for Greek Orthodox man who spent 4 years in a Nazi Camp. I was told not to be too Christ-centred as he was a town scoundrel by Funeral Director.
    It came out from a few friends that the only way he got through the days in the camp was to pray one hour a day face down on the dirt floor. He left his estate to the local medical clinic. Good news was preached!
    God’s richness’s blessings Joel.

    Good morning, Joel,
    It is a time to remember the people who were mistreated during the war, and it was no fault of their own. I can’t imagine seeing those 18 men singing that song on their way to being executed. How brave and trusting in the Lord. Thank you for sharing signs of their faith even with such adversity. I am glad my faith has not been challenged during a war and that my sons didn’t not have to fight for our country. With what is going on in the world, it is a small glimpse of how things can go sideways. Thanks for sharing from your thoughts. Blessings.

    As I write this it is 4:15 pm where I am, and I guess 10:15 am where you are. I just read your devotional for today as I rest in my room in Amsterdam. How appropriate that you should have posted your devotional today while I am in your home country.
    Unfortunately, I didn’t get here for the commemoration of various WWII events. But I am aware as I explore and experience Amsterdam of some of the events and suffering that occurred here years ago.
    I am so glad that you and your wife survived that war and have contributed to life and faith in Canada.
    I wish you both peace and happiness in the days to come. God bless you for your regular sharing on PresbyCan.

    Good morning, Joel.
    Your devotional really broke my heart. There were so many brave men and women who were murdered during that dreadful time, and I thank God that some, at least, had faith and leant on it as the only strength they had, to get through each day.
    Thankfully, we did not suffer occupation in England, how blessed we were. Thinking back, it could very easily have been different. The English Channel saved us from that horror.
    It has become a habit for me to pray for the poor souls around the world who suffer similarly. I pray that each will call to God for an end to the suffering and that they will find the strength to help them survive each nightmarish day.
    I am thankful for each day; for the peace we enjoy and for the beauty all around.
    Thank you for your message that I hope will result in more prayers and inner peace and strength for each person around the world suffering the horrors of war, terrorism and feudal control and disruption of the life they once knew.
    Be blessed, Joel.

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