“Maewyn–May Win? He Sure Did!”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
Many times we read in the Bible about individuals whose names were changed by God as a result of their relationship to Him. Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. Simon Bar-Jonah became Peter. And Saul became Paul. That is— to name just the most well-known examples. Today’s article deals with another individual that was touched by God and had his name changed. And, amazingly, this person falls into that strange category of the oxymoron: unknown celebrity.
I would not be exaggerating to say that—following the ministries of Jesus Christ, and later, the Apostle Paul—few have had as much of an impact upon Christianity as this one person! Single-handedly, this man brought a spiritual awakening to hundreds of thousands of people who had never heard the Gospel before, and who previously held to rigid pagan beliefs! Today, we would call his efforts a revival. However, in my opinion that word might be too weak of a description! And, through his efforts, his name was also changed.
He was born with the name of Maewyn Succat, and at the age of 16, he was a victim of human trafficking. Tragically, for six long years in a foreign country amid a foreign language, he endured beatings and horrible living conditions. But something very strange happened to him there thousands of miles from his home. A lukewarm relationship to God that he had developed as a child was abruptly set ablaze by the Holy Spirit! In fact, he would spend countless hours praying to God–and from his memory– those earlier hymns and Bible lessons vividly returned to him! It was almost as if he had forgotten that he was even a slave!
Suddenly, after those six brutal years, Maewyn—in his own words–heard the audible voice of God! It both startled and confused him. God told him: “Soon you will depart for your home country! Behold, your ship is ready!” And, ironically, on that cold and rainy night when that voice was heard, Maewyn wrote that the Spirit was actually burning inside of him! And so, with that supernatural prompting—unafraid of his captors–he made the journey homeward. Nevertheless, that would be only the first part of his amazing adventure with God! His name wasn’t changed yet.
Unfortunately, the reunion with his parents in England proved to be very short. You see, God had other plans for him that would even defy human logic. And, as a result of another divine message from God–this time in a vision—Maewyn was sent to the last place on the planet he would want to go to: the country of his former captivity!
And so, Maewyn Succat obeyed God–and in the words of the late Paul Harvey—that’s where we encounter “the rest of the story”! Conservative estimates are that more than 100,000 people were converted to Christ through him! Add to that– more than 300 churches were established! And, as a result, the entire country of Ireland was radically awakened to God by one solitary man whose name was changed…you guessed it…to Saint Patrick!