Sunday, October 7, 2012

Yea Though I Walk...Through The Soup Kitchen

During our first year of marriage, my husband and I ran a soup kitchen from our church basement. Every Friday night we would go to the church and peel vegetables and make huge pots of soup for the people who would be eating it on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes we had help either preparing the soup or in serving it, but sometimes it was just Brad and I alone, and we enjoyed doing this ministry together. 

On one particular Sunday afternoon, we had a visitor to the soup kitchen, whom I will never forget. He came in to the church after most of the people had gone home from the morning service. We were in the kitchen talking with one of the church board members. This man sat down at the nearest table to the door with his head hung down. His hair was matted with mud and hung to his shoulders. His clothes looked like he had rolled in the mud several times. All I could think of was that this was once some mother's boy. But, it wasn't his appearance that disturbed me. It was the way he kept his head hung down and the look of pure hatred he gave me when I asked if he would like a bowl of soup. He grunted that he did, so I went back to the kitchen and told Brad I didn't feel comfortable around him, and Brad took the man his soup. 

Usually we would sit with the soup kitchen visitors and talk with them. Many of them would share their names and give us their stories willingly. But not this man. Brad tried to talk to him but he only kept his head down and grunted responses at him. Meanwhile, our board member had gone upstairs and found another board member who was a police officer. The officer quickly came downstairs and sat at the table with the visitor. After only a few minutes he left again leaving us with the strange visitor. 

The man ate two bowls of soup and then without a word he left the church. Later, as we were cleaning up and getting ready to go home, our police officer returned and told us the rest of the story. After he had found out the strange visitor's name he went back upstairs and called into the station to run a check on this man. He found out that the man had escaped from a maximum security prison in Ontario a few weeks earlier. He was serving a sentence for brutally killing a woman with a knife. After he left the soup kitchen, the police picked him up and remanded him to custody once again. 

I can't even begin to tell you the relief we felt knowing that this killer was once more behind bars. We were pretty shaken up thinking that he could have harmed us but then we realized that God had placed angels around us and He would not have allowed us to be harmed. We had nothing to fear because we knew His promises in His Word.

 "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me." Psalm 23:4

"For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go."Psalm 91:11

Psalm 34:7 "The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them."

1 Samuel 2:9 "He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. "It is not by strength that one prevails;"

Proverbs 4:12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.

We knew the Lord had watched over us that day. We knew He had protected us and had kept us from harm even though 'harm' was sitting right across the table from us. God watches over His children. But I wonder how many times we are protected by God that we aren't even aware of His protection. I wonder how many accidents we have avoided; how many injuries we never received. I guess we will never know this side of Heaven but I am thankful for His protective power and His love. 

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