“And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.”St Patrick
Have you felt this sense that someone was is in the midst of your presence, yet no one was there? Or you felt that you were protected from an event or circumstance that was life threatening?
Today is the feast of St. Patrick. Many associate St. Patrick as an Irish leprechaun with a shamrock. He is known as a “lucky saint”. St. Patrick was a “lucky saint”. It wasn’t so much luck in a sense of some pot of gold at the end of a magical rainbow or finding a four-leaf clover, that is one in a million clovers. It was his openness to hearing God’s small voice in his heart.
St. Patrick was a young English boy, kidnapped at age 16 and held captive in Ireland. During the six years he was in Ireland as a prisoner, he came to know and recognize God’s presence with him. It was in captivity that he established a friendship with God.
We hear many stories throughout our lives of people who experience deep conversion in the midst of a crisis, a time when they themselves may experience a sense of captivity.
I personally have to believe that in the middle of these crises in our lives, God calls us closer to Him. In Isaiah 49:8-15, God says to us that He will bring us out of captivity, out of the darkness. Along the way, there will be life giving pastures and we will not hunger or thirst. The sun nor the wind will harm us. He will lead us beside the springs of water and cut a path through all the rough terrain we face. Most importantly, He will comfort us.
For St. Patrick, God not only guided him to escape captivity, but later called him to minister to His people, the very people that held him captive.
I think today’s invitation might be to look at the time you were held captive. Perhaps by your own sins or sins of another? Or maybe it is captivity of the inability to forgive yourself or another? Each of us has something that holds us prisoner from fully embracing the landscape of the journey God has set before us. Today, He invites us to allow Him to take us from that darkness and walk a path that nourishes us.
Lord, the terrains I have walked have been rough. Darkness filled the day and the mountains stood in my way. Trapped in a place that starved me of life, I heard You call out to me to follow You. Today I ask you to comfort me and have mercy on me. Lead me to the thriving pastures, along the springs where I will be nourished. Make the path before me, a path that I can travel through. One that draws me closer to You. So that I may minister to Your people in accordance with Your will for me. Amen