At the age of sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders from his home along the British coast. He was taken to Ireland as a slave. He was forced to leave the life of comfort that he knew and sold to a local Irish king. Looking back on his experience, Patrick wrote, “I was chastened exceedingly and humbled every day in hunger and nakedness.” He wasn’t treated much better than the sheep he was forced to herd. But he remembered his Christian roots and held fast to his faith.
After six years of captivity, Patrick escaped. His voyage home was long and dangerous. But he was eventually reunited with his family, physically scarred from his experience, but also much stronger in his faith. He decided to enter the priesthood.
It was during his study to become a clergyman that he began to have a series of dreams where the voices of his captors called out to him, “We beseech thee to come and walk once more among us.” Although he met resistance from his superiors, Patrick knew that God was calling him to return to the land of his captors.
In AD 432, Patrick returned to the island from which he had once fled as a wandering missionary in the land of Ireland. Although many of the stories about his efforts are things of legend, Patrick’s decision to chase the lion made a lasting impact. He personally baptized tens of thousands of believers. Within ten years of his arrival, he established a network of churches and monasteries throughout the countryside.
Patrick chose obedience over resentment. He chose love over bitterness. Patrick chose to chase the lion.