Courage

In one of the most poignant, multi-layered episodes of the series, Jonathan and Mark arrive at a modern day castle to act as handymen to a former construction tycoon who has lost his grip on reality and thinks he is King Arthur. Arthur Krock lives in fear behind the strong stone walls he built as a tribute to his now-deceased wife, and behind the stronger walls of madness that prevent him from seeing life as it is.
Arthur’s daughter caters to her father’s gentle delusion with love, tenderness, and longsuffering. Arthur’s son, however, wants the old man committed so he can take over the family business. His angry exterior shields the hurt little boy inside that only wants his father’s love.
Jonathan must somehow find a way to reconcile this family that has been torn apart by ambition and sorrow. Ultimately, Jonathan convinces Arthur that he must confront his dragons, or confess that he is no king. Arthur takes up the gauntlet with a stirring prayer. Lifting his crown as an offering to God, he prays:
“Grant me courage to go out into the world, and never let the jeers of those who laugh at me drown out the voice of Truth You plant in all men. Give me courage to dream dreams, and the strength to make them real. And if this be madness, let it only serve Your purpose, and I’ll envy no man the world calls sane.”
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Mark 8:36 – For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Arthur Krock was a dreamer. As a young man he promised to build his bride a castle, and then embarked on the task of doing just that. He built a construction empire from the ground up, eventually becoming quite wealthy. By being so focused on his goal, however, he neglected the very people for whom he worked so hard. He built the castle he promised his wife, but when she died, he lost his reason for living – and he lost his reason.
His son, embittered by years of neglect, is unable or unwilling to love the old man through his delusion. He seeks the empire his father built for him as a suitable replacement for his absentee father. Arthur, it seems, created an empire but lost virtually everything that was important to him – his wife and the love of his son.
“A man sets out to build an empire,” he tells Jonathan. “Why?”
“Ambition, I’d say,” Jonathan replies.
“Is it a wicked thing?”
“Oh, no. I don’t think so,” Jonathan answers. “God gives each of us certain talents. I don’t think it is wicked to want to use those talents. (But) I think there needs to be a balance. (Otherwise) It’s like a man trying to carry a yoke with only one pail of water.”
Arthur’s life is a mirror for many who have sought the American dream. We work hard, building our own empires, only to awake one day and find we have built on a foundation of sand, while all of our nobler aspirations have fallen by the wayside. Sometimes it is only through the longsuffering love of friends, family, or God Himself that we find our way back from the brink of our own self-imposed madness.
The Psalmist declared that “Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Psalm 86:15) And Saint Peter concurred. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Through the gentle encouragement of the Holy Spirit, even those who have built thick and formidable walls around their lives can regain their humanity. But it takes to courage to face your dragons. It takes courage to face your greatest enemy – yourself.
“Be strong and of good courage,” King David exhorted his son Solomon. “Fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (I Chronicles 28:20)
In “A Divine Madness,” Arthur Krock created a business empire, but lost his reason. What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Fortunately, God is gracious and longsuffering, and places people in our lives to help us find the road back home, if only we have the courage to listen and to act.
Written by freelance writer Mike Parker (BookPage, CCM, HomeLife, Lifeway.com, ChristianActivities.com

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