Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
The snow was falling thick and lovely, but the old metal sign under the majestic boughs of the large pine tree by the road was shielded and clear:
“Welcome to Struggleville, U.S.A.”
Four hour trip ahead of me notwithstanding, I knew I had to have a picture of that sign. So I found a safe spot, turned the Jeep around, and made my way back to it. It was just a few days ago somewhere in the backwoods of Georgia, and I was making my way home from a week of preaching a revival, just trying to be careful in the fast falling snow.
Sure enough, the sign said exactly what I thought it said. It was clearly hand painted and very old, and rust was beginning to creep up on the bottom of the sign. What in the word could be so hard about a place, I wondered, as to warrant someone giving it the moniker of Struggleville and painting and then mounting a sign in its “honor?”
But more than that, even, what really compelled me to turn around and take a picture of it was the thought that so very many people in their every day lives feel like that is exactly where they are living.
Life in Struggleville is not an uncommon thing, for any of us.
Though I have read my Bible through scores of times, I was still just a tad surprised to find that some form of the word struggle only occurs once in Scripture, and it occurred in the context of a pregnancy.
Genesis 25:21-23 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
Rebekah had been unable to conceive. That was surely a struggle for her. In the face of that struggle, Isaac prayed, and God answered. Rebekah got pregnant. But then, when she finally did, at some point she realized something was very wrong. She likely felt the fear rising in her throat, wondering if perhaps something was wrong with her baby, and if she would lose him.
It almost seemed like a “war in the womb” was going on. And so she prayed.
As it turns out, there was a war in the womb going on. She was carrying twins, and the two brothers were battling it out even as babes, and mama was paying the price. They were struggling, and she was struggling. But at least now she had the peace of knowing what was happening.
When this family was struggling, they prayed. They knew where to turn for help.
None of us will get through life without a few trips to Struggleville. Job said, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” People face financial hardships, family strife, job stress, political fears, sicknesses, gravesides, depression, the list could go on forever. It is often as if there is a hand painted metal sign over our lives that says, “Welcome to Struggleville.” But the good news is that the very God of glory left heaven and actually came to live in the Struggleville called earth for thirty-three years. He knows what it is like here. He lived where we live and went through what we go through all so that He could be our mediator between God and man.
When we cry out to Jesus, we are speaking to the one who has perfect knowledge of what man goes through and what God the Father expects. Our prayers reach the ears of One who truly feels for us in our infirmities, and yet always satisfies the holy expectations of God.
So don’t get too discouraged over the days you find yourself in Struggleville. Jesus has been there before you, and your prayers never fall on deaf ears or a calloused heart.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner)