In 401 A.D., slave traders captured a 16-year-old boy from England. They took that boy, Patrick, to Ireland and forced him to work as shepherd-slave on the cold mountains. His agony drove him to accept Christ and to pray a lot. After 6 years, he escaped and walked 200 miles to the coast. A ship captain let him ride back to England. But God burdened him so much for the Irish—who had enslaved him—that he went back to serve them as a missionary. By the time he died, slavery ended and the Gospel was firmly planted in Ireland—another example of how God providentially guides those who choose to do His will. When Naomi, in the book of Ruth, reflected on her losses of a husband and two sons in Moab, she became bitter. When she came home to Bethlehem with Ruth, she said to the Bethlehem women, “Don’t call me Naomi, call me Mara [or Mary], for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?” At that time she could not see that God had big plans for her. Her daughter-in-law Ruth married Boaz. From their offspring came King David and Christ our Lord. God’s children need not be bitter when God’s path leads thru dark valleys. We can count on Him to help us cope until His perfect will unfolds.
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