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Thirty-eight times, publishers turned down Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. They knew a good story when they saw one. That many experts couldn’t be wrong . . .
He had no voice at all, said his teacher. Nevertheless, Enrico Caruso became the greatest opera singer of his day.
In 1933, Malcolm Muggeridge wrote that nothing but failure lay ahead of him. (His biggest failure was his prophecy.)
‘Sit down, young man, and respect the opinions of your seniors,’ chided the man of God. The seasoned pastor was just one of an army of people opposed to this young upstart’s radical ideas. ‘If the Lord wants to convert the heathen, he can do it without your help.’ But William Carey (1761-1834) didn’t ‘sit down’. Instead, he spearheaded the modern missionary movement.
For years, Hudson Taylor tried to glean knowledge about China – a difficult task in his era. Then up jumped a chance to be advised by a missionary with experience in that very country. ‘Why, you will never do for China!’ exclaimed the missionary. He glared at the blue-eyed youth, certain that the Chinese would find his features grotesquely alien. ‘They would run from you in terror! You could never get them to listen to you,’ he told the founder of the China Inland Mission.
‘All his discourses are redolent of bad taste, are vulgar and theatrical ...’ said a newspaper. Another paper described his preaching as ‘that of a vulgar colloquial, varied by rant ... All the most solemn mysteries of our holy religion are by him rudely, roughly and impiously handled ...’ They were referring to C. H. Spurgeon, the man routinely hailed as the prince of preachers.
Kenneth Pike has been ranked with ‘the most brilliant and highly honoured linguists of the twentieth century.’ Yet inadequacy at language learning was cited as a major reason for his rejection as a missionary candidate. Humiliated, he kept writing to different mission boards until at last one did not reject him, and even they reportedly exclaimed, ‘Lord, couldn’t you have sent us something better than this?’
“Okay,” you say, “They made it, but what about me?” The answer