He was kidnapped as a teenager, and enslaved for six long years. His name was Meywin Sutek, but he would later come to be known as simply "Patrick".
When he was just a teenage boy playing on the nearby beach by his village in England, Patrick was snatched from his home by Irish pirates raiding up and down the English coast. He was tied with ropes, tossed into a boat, and whisked away to Ireland to be sold as a slave.
Upon arrival on the Green Island, Patrick was sold to a local landlord to become his pig farmer. The slave master stationed Patrick high up in the Irish mountains alone, with just enough food to survive, and only his herd of pigs to keep him company.
In Britain, Patrick had heard of the Christian faith, but as a youth he had never truly embraced it for himself. He was too busy enjoying the mischief and the pleasures of teenage life, that belonged to a wealthy British family.
But now in this desolate, cold, and foreign place, things were very different. Patrick begin to reflect about the truth that he had learned about the Christian God and the Savior named Jesus Christ
Here, in this distant land, and almost in complete isolation, Patrick finally surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus and became a born again Christian. After this momentous decision Patrick began to be radically transformed.
His two books tell us that he soon found himself praying about a hundred times in the morning, and a hundred times at night. He found himself in constant communion with God his Creator, as he walked through the beautiful Irish countryside tending his pigs.
By the time six long years have passed, Patrick had learned the language, culture, and customs of the Celtic peoples. He was growing in his faith, and beginning to readjust to his new life.
However, on one particular night the Lord sent Patrick a dream and told him it was time for him to leave Ireland. In the dream, the Lord directed Patrick to head towards the Irish coast and that a ship would be waiting for him.
Despite the fact a runaway slaves would be killed on site, Patrick obeyed the dream, and set off for the Irish coast. He did indeed find a ship, on which he gained passage back to Europe, and eventually his home country of Britain.
Months later, when he arrived home, his parents were ecstatic with joy, having received their son back from the dead! As far as Patrick was concerned, however, he knew that he was called into the ministry, and so began serious studies in a local monastery to become a priest.
Sometime later, we are told in his writings, that the Lord gave Patrick yet another dream. This time the dream directed him to return back to the Irish peoples who captured him as a slave, for the purpose of sharing Christ with them. Jesus was calling Patrick to be his ambassador to Ireland!
This dream became the passion of Patrick heart, and after years of training for the priesthood, Patrick was finally ordained as a bishop and sent back to Ireland. He had the full endorsement of the Church, to spread the good news of all the Celtic peoples.
Though Patrick arrived on the island of Ireland at the age of 45, by the time he was in his eighties, the Lord had used Patrick to completely revolutionize Ireland, by spreading the Gospel of Christ to the far reaches of the Emerald Island.
Though he began as a slave, Patrick became a saint, and later became a servant of Jesus who revolutionized the lives of millions of people, up to the present day!
Have you ever seen the Lord do a similar thing in your life? As Christ ever taken a difficult and challenging circumstances in which you found yourself in, flipped it around, and brought something exceptionally good out of it? (Read Eph 3:20)
This was Paul's experience in the city of Philippi. Though he was rejected, stoned to death, drug into a prison, and beaten, the Lord also used this apostle to start a vibrant church there and bring the Gospel to thousands of people!
Paul tells us in Philippians 1:12 ,13 that the Lord used his personal suffering for the spiritual good of others:"I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel..my chains are in Christ.."
Even in the Old Testament, Joseph told us something very similar. Though, he too, was wrongfully imprisoned, Joseph could also look back upon his life and see the sovereign hand of God working through his imprisonment to produce salvation for others. In Genesis 50:20 we are told:"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive."
Of course, in the Gospels we even see that Christ himself was imprisoned wrongfully, in a course of events which led to salvation being possible for the whole world! (Read John 3:16-18)
So the question for us is this: Do you happen to find yourself in a situation today that feels like and imprisonment, but may very well be allowed by God? Perhaps it's your job, or your marriage, or your physical body, or just a difficult situation that you feel trapped in by the circumstances.
Have you ever stopped to pray that perhaps the Lord might be working in and through that situation to bring you closer to himself?
Have you even stop to consider the possibility that the Lord Himself may have designed that situation, in order to produce more maturity and depth of character in your walk with Christ?
Today, I encourage you to look at your problems with a fresh perspective! as the cliche goes, if you feel that life has handed you "lemons", then just make "lemonade" out of them thru Christ! Look at the situation you find yourself in, and try to discover the good things that the Lord is seeking to do in you, and through you in those various circumstances.
Follow the example of Patrick, and begin to allow your difficulty to train you to fulfill your destiny! (Read Romans 8:28; Eph 2:10)