For the lord God is our Light and protector. He give us grace and glory. No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what is right. Psalm 84: 10-12
At the age of 14, the Scottish born St. Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Ireland and forced to be a shepherd. Patrick was surrounded by evil people and as he watched sheep all day and night, he prayed that his love for God would grow.
When he was 20, he had a dream about escaping by going to the coast. As the story goes, when he awoke he escaped and was reunited with this family in Britain. Later, he dreamt about the people of ireland and was called by God to tell them about Christ. He shared the love of Christ through the use of the Shamrock with many people.
Patrick was able to be courageous to face his enemies and return to a place that had caused him a lot of pain and hardship, because he knew that God was in control. He was more afraid of people dying without Christ than he was about facing the risks and rejection.
God sometimes uses the strangest experiences to grow our faith in Him. I am just thankful that it does not take me getting kidnapped and being forced into slavery and spending a lot of time praying alone with a bunch of sheep…although, I have to admit that last part does not sound so bad. Anyway, I share the the story for a reason and it is all just too coincidental that this would be happening about the same time that I was getting ready to sit down to write our “Easter/St. Patrick’s Letter” back in 2005, since once again, I couldn’t get it out at Christmas.
One day, Sammy and I were out looking for four leaf clovers, which I can tell you, I had no real intention on actually finding any. I had never found any before and I spent a good deal of time looking as a kid. Sammy announced confidently, that she would find one. I warned her that they are very hard to find and as I was continuing my commentary, she bent down to the very first patch she came across and picked up the first clover that her eyes discerned. She excitedly announced, “I found one, I found a four leaf clover.” Of course, Mommy chuckled and said, “Oh, now check carefully, because sometimes the three leafed clovers deceive you. You have to really count the leaves very, very carefully.” She counted again and said, “Yep, it is definitely a four leafed clover, I knew I would find one.” I thought to myself, “Ah, the faith of a child.”
I said, “OK, let me see it.” I counted the leaves three times and she was right…I was utterly amazed. I told her that she was very lucky and that Mommy had never found one in all of her life. Of course, I had to look down in the very same patch, which of course, would be silly, because what are the odds that we would find two, let alone in the same patch. Well, an inch over from where she plucked hers, I plucked one of my very own. “Well, what do you know, I found one too, it must be our lucky day!” I was truly amazed and knew it was a gift from God, to be able to share this experience with my daughter and I had been having a very hard time in the recent months…so I knew it was a gift and I just had to fully unwrap it to know fully what God was trying to tell me.
When we got home, I pressed the clovers and went right to the internet to learn more about four leaf clovers and Shamrocks, especially since St. Patrick’s Day was quickly approaching and knew virtually nothing about St. Patrick, or how he became a Saint, until I found the story that I shared earlier. I also learned that the Irish tradition, thanks to St. Patrick, says that the Shamrock or the three leafed clover represents the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If a clover is found with the fourth leaf, that represents God’s Grace. That was the Gift God was trying to give me. His grace…my daughter and I were covered in His grace and nothing anyone else said or did or believed could change that. I had been in a crisis of belief recently due to some experiences that were continually bringing doubt to my faith through pharisaic and legalistic belief systems that were damaging to my daughter’s quickly and organically growing spirituality and my own and I had been in constant prayer asking God to once again to further grow my faith and hope in Him and Him alone. He most certainly did. My daughter was 7 then and had asked Christ into her heart around 6. She is 15 now and still has a beautiful growing faith and heart.
Know that when you earnestly seek God and His will from your heart and ask him to grow your faith in Him, know that He most assuredly will and you just never know what He will use to do it…Bible, Saints, dreams, visions, friends, children, circumstances, coincidences, seashells, creation…or maybe a four leafed clover.
I pray that we can all Live Life Abundantly and Harmoniously under His great umbrella of Grace..Trusting in Him alone, Michelle Solberg
“So let us come bold to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. ” Hebrews 4:16