LILY Letter 101: Happy St. Patrick's!

March 14, 2023

Seven years ago this St. Patrick's Day, Cathy posted a selfie wearing a green shirt emblazoned with a shamrock and the words, "Looking for my Lucky Charm." That day, her eternal companion entered her life. Jeff saw her post and sent her a friend request. We became Facebook friends on St. Patrick's in 2016 so St. Patrick's Day is truly our lucky day!

Zig Ziglar was fond of saying that "success is where preparation meets opportunity." We would add to that the idea that, "success is where preparation meets opportunity and agency." Cathy made her light-hearted St. Patrick's Day post knowing that some people might think it was silly or criticize her for "trying too hard." When she posted it, she even had the thought that "this isn't very likely to work!" However, she put it out there anyway that she was interested in finding a partner -- and she found one. Some people might look at the relationship she found and say, "she was lucky," yet she used her agency to set her intentions and prepare.

The element of "opportunity" is where luck comes in. We have to leave that part to God. As Horace Walpole said, "What is called chance is the instrument of Providence." But even so, Cathy made an honest bid for what her heart desired when she could have chosen to play it safe and pretend, like so many do, that she didn't really care very much about finding a partner. If you pretend you don't want a partner, the chances that you will find one will be vastly diminished.

The example of St. Patrick himself is illustrative of how we can maintain faith and hope amid crisis. St. Patrick was not, in fact, Irish. He was born in fourth century Roman Britain, and he died on March 17 (now observed as St. Patrick's Day), 460 A. D. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders and was kept as a slave; much like Joseph of old was captured and sold into slavery in Egypt. Patrick spent six years in captivity before he escaped and returned home to England. During his captivity, Patrick was often isolated in solitary pursuits and his pondering led him to develop a deep Christian faith.

Six years into his captivity, an angel appeared to Patrick, telling him "You have fasted well. Very soon you will return to your native country.” The angel also told him where a ship would be docked that would take him back to his home country. He walked over 200 miles to reach the port.

Patrick later experienced another vision, which told him to return to Ireland and walk among the people there. During his mission to Ireland, Patrick baptized druid priests, chieftains, and other aristocrats by the thousands. He ultimately led the nation to Christianity. Like Joseph of old, Patrick led a nation on a new path as a result of being sold there as a slave.

Sometimes the opportunities we are presented with are not what we expect. Sometimes they come to us looking like tragedies. Sometimes they are painful. But we should never give up believing that God has good things in store for us. He knows how to prepare us and to do His own work with us. Often, He sets things in motion and then waits. Waiting is the callisthenic of the soul. It is useless to stand over our garden and shout at our plants to grow faster. Often, they are growing but we can't see it happening because they have not YET pushed through the surface.

When Cathy posted her selfie seven years ago, she set something in motion and then waited. It took us more than two years after she posted that selfie for us to make it to the altar. It took us time and patience to work out what we were going to mean to each other. But that is the way of it. We put ourselves out there and do our best and trust the Lord to do the rest. He might make us wait longer than we wish for the results, but His promises are sure. Why not plant the seed of your desire on St. Patrick's Day? You may just find your lucky charm!

Our featured podcast episode this week is Flips & Flops in Life & Relationships and our featured video is St. Patrick's - Looking for Green Flags. Our Short of the week is The Comparison is the Thief of Joy. Convenient links to all of these FREE new resources are provided below. Have a wonderful day!


LILY Pod: Flips & Flops in Life & Relationships
LILY Tube: St. Patrick's - Looking for Green Flags
LILY Short: Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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