Imagine a German child who survived World War II’s destruction only to be deprived of decent food, clothing, and shelter. Then, like lightning breaking through a nightmare of darkness, the sky began to rain chocolate!
Berlin was devastated by the wartime bombings. Yet, as hopeful reconstruction began, Cold War trouble arrived. Soviet Russia blockaded West Berlin, choking off avenues for food and fuel from the West—a siege strategy to starve it into surrendering. Canals, railroads, roadways, and electricity were obstructed by Russian troops. Over two million West Berliners were trapped and had little more than one month’s food and less than two months’ coal.1
The Berlin Blockade—June 1948 through May 1949—prevented trucks from delivering food and heating coal. Would America and Great Britain be forced to abandon West Berlin to Russia’s bullying tactics? Would Stalin annex free West Berlin to the Soviet-bloc empire?1
No, the siege was broken by the Berlin Airlift. In U.S.-run Operation Vittles and British-run Operation Plainfare, this relief effort was powered by military cargo planes, Anglo-American goodwill, and a clear warning—that Moscow would receive an atomic bomb reprisal if any American cargo plane was shot down by Russia.
British and American planes made serial deliveries—day after day after day—of cheese, coal, coffee, fish, flour, gasoline, meats, medicines, cereal, whole milk, powdered milk, dehydrated potatoes, sugar, wheat, yeast—with a goal of delivering 1,500 tons of food daily!1
Lt. Gail Halvorsen, an airlift pilot, decided to film cargo planes on the runway on one of his days off. About 30 German children approached, curiously crowding a wire fence that separated them from the airlift operations. To be kind, Halvorsen handed his only two sticks of Doublemint chewing gum through the fence.2 The children divided the gum into small pieces. Those who got no gum sniffed the gum wrappers. What a pitiful scene!
Halvorsen wished he had more to share. Another plane landed and he had a brainstorm.
Why not drop some gum, even chocolate, to these kids out of our airplanes the next daylight trip to Berlin?2
He announced his intention to the children. But how would they know which aircraft he would be flying? “When I get overhead, I’ll wiggle my wings,” Lt. Halvorsen told the kids, gesturing with his arms.2
So, thanks to the kind creativity of “Uncle Wiggly Wings,” Operation Little Vittles was launched, airdropping tons of Hershey’s chocolate bars, Life Savers, bubble gum, and more using handkerchief-like parachutes. News of the raining chocolate went viral among Berlin’s children and their parents. Eventually, Russia’s siege was lifted, thwarted by nonstop deliveries of airborne kindness.
How wonderful! Yet, we can all imagine kindness being rained down upon us—because it happens so frequently that we take it for granted.3
Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.4
Without rain or snowmelt, how would our rivers and streams, lakes and ponds be refilled? Without rain, where would we get fresh drinkable water, without which we would die? God has not left Himself without witness. Even the rainwater and the entire water cycle that providentially make life possible are proof positive that God is kind. His kindness literally rains down on us from the skies.
- Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation. Posted on spiritoffreedom.org. Tunnell, M. O. 2010. Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot.” Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 1-11.
- Tunnell, Candy Bomber, 12-73, quote on 22.
- Regarding Earth’s water cycle, see Job 26:8, 36:27-28; Isaiah 55:10-11; Deuteronomy 8:7, 32:2; Ecclesiastes 1:7, 11:3; Amos 5:8, 9:6; Psalm 104:10-13; Jeremiah 10:13, 14:22, 51:16; Zechariah 10:1; Luke 12:54.
- Acts 14:17.
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* Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.