In summer of 1982, I was allocated a territory just north of Delhi, India. It was my second year in college, and this territory would provide my scholarship for the following year to pay for my tuition and boarding fees. This was a vast area, with numerous colleges, universities and affluent people's homes, and the task was to sell health books and periodicals. In short, door to door sales. The challenge was, how do you get entry into someone’s property and, once you’ve gained access, how do you sell rather expensive material? It's safe to say that, with excellent coaching, I considered myself to be a very good colporteur.
One morning, I set out to go to a city called Panipat, a historical place but now a booming handloom centre of north India. In the past, I had very good success selling books here. So, my bus journey was very pleasant in anticipation that it was going to be a big day. I landed there about 8:30am in the morning. As per my brief, I started knocking on the doors of wealthy Indians with no success. Around 10:30am, I started walking towards the industrial area, I visited several offices but my first sale was still eluding me.
The entire day had gone by and I hadn’t sold anything. Neither had I eaten, since I did not have any money on me. It was now 5:30pm when I arrived at a rice mill. The owner was about to leave the premises. He was almost driving past me but decided to stop his car and re-open his office to hear my case. He was kind enough to place an order for a magazine. But, he decided to give me a bank cheque, which of course was of no use to me, as I needed to eat and go back to my station. However, upon listening to my plea, he rescinded the cheque payment and gave me the much needed cash instead.
The late evening bus journey to my station was lonely and utterly discouraging. The darkness of the night made it even worse. I felt defeated, ridiculed beyond all comprehension. In my heart of hearts I thought, I cannot do this. The task ahead looked perilous and unrelentingly difficult. I started questioning God and His purpose in my life. After reaching my humble home, I was not able to sleep very well.
Thomas Edison wrote, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Do you feel your goal is running away from you? Are you tired of trying? We are told Edison had failed over a thousand times before he invented the bulb. That is a staggering statistic. No matter what your struggle is, do not give up. God has a plan (Jeremiah 29) for you and, in fact, for all of us who are trying very hard. You may not see instant results. You may not realise the value of your investment today, be it your family, business or your walk with God. In His time, He will make you victorious. Moses tried for 40 years, whereas Noah’s struggles continued over 120 years – but God delivered them both.
Well, the following morning, I met a trustee of a school who advised me to go and see the head of the school. Still disappointed and disenchanted, I went over to him on the other side of the city. After a brief introduction, the headmaster asked me to draw up a bill, as he was prepared to buy everything I had in my bag. From that moment, I have never looked back, and have always believed in God’s provision and His deliverance. He will deliver you regardless of your struggle today.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.