Last summer, I had the privilege of taking my sons to Universal Studios in Orlando. Beth was attending a conference nearby, and I took the opportunity to have some father-son time. We did a number of things that week, but in one part of Universal we found “Rosie’s Irish Imports.” It was a small gift shop, but one of the few stores with primarily cultural items and very little Universal merchandise.
Having a strong Irish lineage and love for many Irish things, we shopped until we found souvenirs for ourselves and for Beth. However, as we were checking out, I noticed a small basket next to the register containing roughly 20 odd-looking brass objects about the size of a large marble.
They so piqued my curiosity I asked the salesperson checking us out, what they were. She told me they were brass pigs; and upon further examination, I discovered she was right. They indeed were shaped like pigs.
Well, at that point, I went from curious to intrigued, and I had to ask why there were brass pigs in a basket next to the register. She explained that they served as a reminder of how God answers prayer because Saint Patrick once prayed for food and God miraculously sent pigs.
She had me at “God answers prayer.”
I’m a sucker for how God moves in response to the prayers of His people, and I had to have one. So…I bought one; and that night, began to research this reported miracle of pigs.
You may recall that Saint Patrick was born into a loving family in the British segment of the Roman Empire. He lived a good and peaceful life until he was kidnaped by a group of Irish raiders, taken to Ireland and sold into slavery at the age of 16. He remained in captivity for 6 years, but was eventually able to escape. [You can read more here: http://livesent.heritageqc.com/st-patricks-day/]
During his return to Britain, Patrick was traveling with some sailors after they had docked their ship in Britain, but they had trouble finding enough to eat while crossing through a desolate area. According to Patrick, the captain said to him:
“…‘What have you to say for yourself, Christian? You boast that your God is all-powerful. So why can’t you pray for us, you know how badly hunger threatens us; its beginning to look as if we may not survive to see another living soul.’ But I told them with great confidence, ‘Turn trustingly to the Lord who is my God and put your faith in him with all your heart, because nothing is impossible to him. On this same day, he will send us food sufficient for our journey, because for him there is abundance everywhere. And with the help of God that is how things turned out.’”
After Patrick told the captain that nothing was impossible for God, he prayed; and after Patrick finished praying, a herd of pigs appeared in front of the group of men. The sailors caught and killed the pigs so they could eat, and that food sustained them until they were able to leave the area and find more food.
I love a number of things about this story, but mostly I love how Patrick prayed and God responded. It’s a story that reminds me of Genesis 22:
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” – Genesis 22:13-14
Now, it may seem silly; but that goofy looking brass pig has sat on a shelf in my prayer closet since I bought it. It serves as a constant reminder of how our Lord is Jehovah-jireh, Our Provider. It reminds me of my need for God, our need for God and how our Heavenly Father responds to the desperate prayers of his people.
Like Patrick, after we escape our slavery to sin through Jesus, there’s still a journey to take…a journey of depending on God, crying out to Him and looking to Him in our daily needs and greatest needs. The brass pig reminds me of my need for Him and my ongoing commitment to cry out to Him.
Will you join me in doing that?
Will you ask Jehovah-jireh to show himself to be Our Provider. Our provider of:
…wisdom …strength …unity …courage
…patience …resources …perseverance …and more.
What will you ask him to provide?