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By Shane Kesterke
Elder, Mission Bible Fellowship 

The Road to Wigan Pier


I am in the middle of listening to the audio version of the book “The Road to Wigan Pier” written by George Orwell and published in 1937. In it, Mr. Orwell describes in detail the living conditions of thousands of common working class men and families living in northern England in the years before World War II. I have not finished the book yet but my time listening to and considering it have led me to share a couple of thoughts that have been sparked in my head by it.

1. I have nothing to complain about! If I gain nothing else from the book but a reminder of this truth, the book will have been worth my time.

The living conditions those poor English people were enduring make my life look like a mini picture of heaven. They lived in filth in cold tiny homes or apartments with leaky roofs, many of them unemployed because of a severe shortage of job opportunities, wretched access to medical assistance, barely getting enough clean water and food to survive.

The working conditions of the coal miners were appalling to say the least, with accidents and fatalities common and no OSHA dictating safety standards. The fact that I have work, above ground; can shower in warm, clean water multiple times a day if desired; have a roof that does not leak when it rains; and have access to all kinds of varieties of fresh or quick-to-prepare foods only a few minutes away from my house, puts my living standard so far above theirs it is not really even fair to compare.

I think that even the homeless in America today live better, or at least have the hope of living better, than the English coal miners of the 1930s.

2. God does not promise that if we become Christians, we will live an easy life. To the contrary, an examination of biblical characters and biblical teaching shows that life will not be easy.

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” The promise is not for an easy life but that He will be with us and give us hope and peace in spite of hardships. As far as we know, 10 of the 12 original disciples of Jesus died as martyrs. If the most of the men closest to Jesus during His time here on earth died like that, how can I expect anything better?

3. I need to be thankful! This third thought comes from an understanding of the first and second thoughts. If I have nothing to complain about and if God does not promise that I will have an easy life, then I really ought to be thankful to God for every blessing and every trial that comes my way. This is way easier said than done, and is a lifelong truth to strive for, be reminded of, and work toward.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”


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