My father recommended I read a book called Three Edwards by Thomas Costain. I was very moved by this story and wanted to share it with you. This is a TRUE story.
During the 1300’s a duke named Ranald lived in the region now known as Belgium. Ranald was very obese, in fact he was often known by his nickname Crassis which means in Latin simply “fat”. Eventually Ranald actually became king, but his brother Edward was very jealous. After a long quarrel Edward rallied a group of people together and led a revolt taking over the castle and kingdom.
Everyone assumed Edward would now kill his older brother Ranald, as was often done. But somehow he took compassion on Ranald and instead – built a unique dungeon for him. Edward removed Ranald from the throne and built a large circular room. It had 1 doorway but no door. Inside the room was a bed – a table – and all the bare essentials Ranald would need. But the doorless doorway was a regular-sized doorway and Ranald was too big to fit through it.
Edward told Ranald, “When you can fit through the doorway, you are free to go”. Every day Edward would have his servants bring to the room – plates full of pies and pastries, piles of meat and delicacies.
People accused Edward of being cruel to his brother, but Edward had a ready answer. “My brother is not a prisoner. He is free to go! Indeed his room hasn’t even a door!” Ranald remained in that same room, a prisoner of his own lack of will power – for more than 10 yrs.
Edward died in battle and so his brother’s room was knocked down and he was able to leave. By then his health was so far gone that he died in a year.
It was never that he had no choice, but only that he would not use his willpower to choose what was best for his life.
I’m sure your initial reaction was like mine – how ridiculous!! Seriously – 10 years spent in a prison because you couldn’t fit through the door? Yet are we not like Duke Ranald in many ways?
We might not be a prisoner in our room – but we certainly have addictions that keep us in one place. But let me tell you what God showed me about a week ago that raised some RED FLAGS for me…..
I was sitting at a restaurant with my husband. He was on his phone and I was on mine. There was no conversation between the two of us.
Malaya and Mikela wanted to play with our phones. They started texting each other. Granted – none of it made sense – since they can’t read – but none the less – I watched them. I remember as a child saying – let’s play “house”! We would all pretend to be parents and babies. My girls told me they were playing “phone”. What happened here?
The girls wanted to play dolls in their room. I had just sat down to relax. I told them I’d be up there in 10 minutes. I got my computer out – decided to do a quick facebook check and 15 minutes later – I’m still sitting on the couch. Mikela tells me – “You’re always working!”
Feel the breeze? That’s my God waving His Red Flag right in front of my face and I could not look away anymore.
Now I’m not saying I’m cutting off all communication with the real world or even the cyber world. As a representative of God’s work and our mission travel agent, I would not be following the Great Commission or doing my job if I locked myself away completely. As with the story told above, it wasn’t that Ranald couldn’t eat at all, it was he needed to moderate what he was eating. I’ve decided to put myself on a cyber diet. One of those fatty areas for me happens to be facebook. Just like I have trouble eating just one sugar cookie – I have the same problem with even just ten minutes of facebook time. So, facebook has to go for me for now. My blog posts are automatically generated and posted there but I believe God is telling me to take a break from the hourly status updates.
I don’t know where your battle lies. If you are like me, it’s probably more than one area. It could very well be the church. Catalyst speaker Andy Stanley says he refuses to sacrifice his children on the altar of ministry. How many of us have done that for the good of our brothers and sisters in Christ but the detriment of our family?
When Christ died on the cross and rose again – His power was given to all of us. There is no pattern of thinking that is beyond His Power. Christ died to free us from the bondage that we (alone) couldn’t overcome.
Christ says, “I stand at the door and knock.” I’m thinking if Ranald had known that Christ could help him through the door, he would have escaped his torment.
Categories: Personal Stories