What’s Irish and stays out all night? Paddy O’Furniture…

Posted: March 15, 2013 in From the Wall
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“Patrick, O Patrick, the blarniest of saints!
He is what he is and he ain’t what he ain’t!
He preached them the Gospel and healed them their ills,
And drove all the druids to North Druid Hills!”

Patrick (aka St. Patrick or Patrick of Ireland) is a much misunderstood person.  The two things most associated with his “day” and his name are Ireland and green beer.  And actually he was neither Irish nor a drunkard.  But his life does tell of a profound adventure in God and the message of his life continues to resonate even today.

As a young 16 year old dude in Britain, he was a nominal Christian, hanging out, doing what most teenagers do.  But his life was traumatically and forever hijacked by pirates who abducted him from his village and whisked him across the water to Ireland — where he was sold as a slave to an Irish pig farmer, where he labored for 6 years.

But the pain and isolation of the experience served to move his heart to continual prayer (rather than to despair).  And one night (according to his own words), he heard the voice of God telling him that he would soon be free and that a ship was waiting for him hundreds of miles away.  And he was miraculously led through strange country to the exact place that this ship was docked.

Later, when he was safe back with his family in Britain, he received a dream in which he saw a man from Ireland coming to him with many letters from the Irish people, and they cried out to him with one voice:  “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.”

At this point, he made an amazing choice.  He chose to forgive those who had enslaved him, and to spend the rest of his life setting them free from spiritual slavery.  And at the end of his life, he had had baptized 120,000 Irishmen and planted hundreds of churches.

And this true story is a great reminder for all of Christians who labor for things like an end to slavery, poverty, etc., and who seek social justice.  These are great things to do.  But we must never lose sight of the fact that the worst slavery is spiritual slavery, and the worst poverty is the poverty of soul.  Many wealthy, politically free people will spend an eternity in darkness.  So, improving people’s lot in this life should never be our ultimate goal, but merely a means to an end.  And that end is the reconciliation of the human race to God.





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