We would be hard-pressed to find anyone who couldn’t readily identify the namesake of this annual celebration since the name of the holiday pretty much gives that away; but the details about Saint Patrick are less familiar and even misunderstood. For example:
- He was English, not Irish.
- He was known for wearing blue, not green.
- His first trip to Ireland was as a slave, not a missionary.
Patrick was born in Great Britain; but as a teenager, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland where he was enslaved for 6 years. It was not an easy life. But while in captivity, he turned his heart and attention toward God; and at the age of 20, he escaped. He then made his way back to his family in England, and devoted himself to serving God as a priest.
It’s a remarkable story, and we haven’t even gotten to the most remarkable part yet.
Patrick ultimately returned to Ireland to love and serve the people that enslaved him! He voluntarily returned to the place of his captivity to lead them out of their own spiritual captivity and into freedom in Jesus; and for 40 years, God used Patrick to transform Ireland with the Good News of Jesus!
I love the beauty of Patrick’s story. It reflects the power of forgiveness, the power of grace, the power of love and the power of God. It’s a true reflection of what Jesus did for us. Because Patrick allowed God to work in him, God was able to work through him.
Like we discussed last weekend as a church family, whenever God is making a difference IN us, He always intends to make a difference THROUGH us. Yet…that work IN us often involves brokenness.
Brokenness is not weakness, but rather a coming to the end of ourselves that leads to humility. It precedes surrender. It produces godly character & enables us to relinquish control of our lives to God…just like Patrick.
What difficult thing has God asked you to do? [i.e. say no to a desire, forgive someone you didn’t want to forgive, give away what you wanted to keep, set aside a dream or goal, take a step of faith, endure an injustice, etc.]
Whether you are battling illness, struggling in relationship, starting a new adventure or ending one, the Lord desires to sustain you and to lead you through the valley. Let Him!
Whatever valley of brokenness He is leading you through or allowing you to endure, don’t quit. Brokenness is the fertile soil where the seeds of surrender grow into obedience. If you’re willing to remain faithful, there’s a beautiful redemptive outcome ahead. [Click here for a specific example in Patrick’s life.]
God doesn’t need more confident or competent people. He needs more broken people, people who know how to live from a place of dependence on Him, people who are willing to be sacrificed for His purposes even if it is costly, painful or beyond our ability to endure it.
There’s some uncertainty between fact and fiction in the stories about Patrick, but what’s absolutely certain is that God used one man’s willingness to be broken so that many others could be made whole.
That sounds very similar to what we’re going to celebrate in our next annual holiday at the end of the month. [aka Easter] 😉