After six years of enduring the cold hardships of the life of a shepherd living in the fields, Patrick had a dream. In the dream he heard a voice telling him to go to the shore and leave on a ship waiting for him to go home. He simply left the flocks and travelled obeying the dream. He believed God had spoken to him. If not, his punishment would be severe. He must have hidden along the way. He must have some how had his identity as a slave concealed.
What we do is that when Patrick arrived at the shore, he saw the ship and asked to be taken aboard but was refused. Our young hero simply finds a place of prayer and returns the next day and negotiated his way aboard the ship. During the journey some believe to Gaul others perhaps straightaway to Britain he shared his faith with the sailors.
Eventually Patrick arrived back home to the love of family and friends. But Patrick had changed. God’s call was upon his life. He would enter studies for the priesthood. Most believed he was trained in Rome, some believe in Gaul, perhaps with the community of St. Martin of Tours.
His training grounded him in the scriptures and in the theology of that day. Remember this is circa 412-415 A.D. Young Patrick went home to Britain and served for years as a faithful pastor.
God prepared, preserved and protected His servant in the midst of his enemies. He will do the same for you. Surely the unseen hand of God was at work in behalf of Patrick. That same hand is extended to you and me today.
“Help me … my God, save me through your wonderful love; Then they’ll know that your hand is in this, that you, God, have been at work.” Psalm 109:26, Message
Then one night when he was forty eight, a time past the life expectancy of most men in the fifth century, Patrick had another dream.
God must have said, it’s time. Ireland was ready! Patrick was ready!
Tomorrow a slave is sent back to his captors.
Peace and Joy!