Daniel Heffington
Daniel Heffington
March 17, 2023

Saint Patrick’s adventures began just before he turned 16 years old. Born a Briton, he was on a seaside holiday with his family when their villa was attacked, and he, along with some of the family’s servants, was kidnapped by Irish pirates who trafficked in human slaves.

Soon, Patrick found himself the slave of a Druid chieftain and tasked with looking after flocks of sheep. According to his autobiography, Patrick came to have personal faith in Christ during these times as a herdsman. 

After 6 years of slavery, Patrick began to have strange dreams. 

He took these dreams as a sign from God, and one of the dreams told him that there was a ship waiting to take him back to his home country. He successfully escaped and, sure enough, found a ship that gave him passage back to Britain where he was eventually reunited with his family. 

But his story didn’t end there. 

Patrick had a growing sense that he was called to bring the gospel of Jesus back to the Irish pagans that had enslaved him. He received theological training in France and was ordained as a priest and a bishop.

Then, years after he had been captured and sold into slavery, Patrick returned to Ireland with a bold mission: to convince a nation of Druids and pagan worshippers that there was one true God and that He loved them. 

There are many stories and legends of Patrick’s audacious exploits in sharing the gospel. Some are fact, some are fiction, and some land somewhere in between. 

What remains undeniable is Patrick’s supernatural forgiveness and affection for the people and the culture that had ripped him away from everything he ever knew and trampled on his human rights. 

This was not a natural, human response. 

In fact, Patrick received massive pushback from his family members (and even church officials) when he shared his dream of taking the gospel to Ireland. 

He also received concerted persecution from Druid leaders and priests who viewed Christianity as a threat to their power and their gods. 

But Patrick’s heart was filled with the spirit of God and the knowledge of his own salvation from sin and darkness. This prompted him to face peril, adversity, and suffering to follow this calling. 

After years of preaching, baptizing, and planting churches across Ireland, Patrick died and was buried in the land that had captivated his heart and encompassed his life’s work. 

Each of us can learn from Patrick’s example. We live in a day when we are easily offended and encouraged to cut off, cut out, or “cancel” those who offend us (and typically for much smaller offenses than kidnapping and slavery).  

While evil must be called out and resisted, Christians have an overcoming hope and an additional calling when we have been wronged. 

Each of us has chosen evil instead of good. We have personally offended the heart of God. And yet, each of us is also a living example of the power and restorative beauty of undeserved forgiveness. 

And once we have moved from spiritual death to spiritual life, we are invited and instructed to be vessels of the same promise to a broken world. 

We have the privilege and the responsibility to offer this message of redemption and hope to people and cultures that desperately need it. 

Patrick understood and embraced this paradigm. It crystallized his calling and revolutionized his life’s trajectory. 

It can do the same for you. 

Don’t write yourself off or count yourself out because you are young. Or have messed up. Or don’t even know if your faith is authentically yours. 

Patrick was intimately familiar with each of those realities.

But when human frailty and limitations are combined with the power and restoration of God, wonderful things happen.

I hope you’re wearing green today.

I hope you get some corned beef and cabbage.

I hope you get one of those dangerously delicious frosted seasonal cookies from the bakery department at your local grocery store. 

And I hope you’ll draw inspiration from the life of Patrick long after we move on from his holiday. 



Daniel Heffington
Daniel Heffington

Daniel Heffington grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Pro-life advocacy caused him to become active in state politics as a young homeschooler. Now in his role as Communications Manager for Generation Joshua, Daniel leads publications, marketing, and messaging efforts for a national nonprofit. His background in small business, grassroots politics, and ministry has prepared him to tackle multifaceted challenges and opportunities for the organization. Daniel has a passion for ministry and healthy leadership and has a heart for equipping young people to change the world. He loves meeting new people and helping to create life-giving cultures for teams accomplishing great missions. Daniel is also a worship leader, recording artist, and coffee enthusiast. He lives in Berryville, Virginia with his wife, Abigail, and their daughters: Ellie and Piper. Follow Daniel on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Instagram.

March 17, 2023