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St. Patrick — A man of God

St. Patrick will be honored Friday in many ways, but most will not recognize him as a great man of God. 

First, St. Patrick was not Irish, but was born in Britain in 386 A.D. to a Roman family. They were of high social standing with his father being in charge of the colonies. His grandfather was a clergyman and his father a Christian deacon.

At age 16, while working on his father’s farm, he was captured by raiders and sold as a slave in Ireland. For six years, he suffered the cruelty of Milcho, a Druid Chieftain, while tending his sheep. He became fluent in the Irish language. 

During the quiet times, he remembered the teachings and influence of his father and grandfather. As a result of this, he turned to Christ as his Savior and became a man of deep prayer.

When he turned 22, he was able to escape and return home. After finding his way to the seacoast, he talked a French ship’s captain into taking him aboard. The journey home was a long and difficult one, but worth it to be reunited with his family in Wales.

God was leading Patrick to serve Him. He studied and ministered in France. At the age of 40, Patrick felt the call to return to Ireland and the people who once owned him.

For the next 33 years, he labored in Ireland preaching salvation to the people who once enslaved him. He wanted to set them free from the slavery of sin. Under his ministry, churches sprang up all over Ireland with many sending out missionaries bringing the gospel to Scotland, England, Germany and Gaul. 

It was through God’s grace that Patrick did not allow a situation that was beyond his control to cause him to become bitter. 

God, however, used it as an instrument to reach Patrick’s oppressors with mercy.

If God can bring something good out of this man’s tragedies, He can also turn our defeats into victories. Someone has pointed out the difference in the spelling of disappointment and His appointment is one letter.

We can take courage from St. Patrick’s example. When we are available to God’s grace, we too can rise above our circumstances. 

Instead of raising a beer mug to recognize St. Patrick, say a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s love. Here is a man who forgave his enemies and offered himself freely to be their servant because of God’s mercy and grace.