"Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours . . . for you need endurance."
In 1960, Madeleine L'Engel was a 42-year-old school teacher and aspiring writer. Married with two children (and a member of the UCC at the time), L'Engel hadn't published a major work since her early twenties. But she'd become fascinated by Einstein's theory of relativity and quantum physics. That year she incorporated those ideas into a science fiction fantasy for young adults.
Over the next two years, L'Engel submitted the book to 26 publishers. Each one turned it down. Some because L'Engel wasn't known as a science fiction writer. Others because the main character was a mathematically-savvy young girl. That was too unbelievable!
Undaunted, L'Engel tried a 27th time and sent the manuscript to Farrar, Straus and Giroux. They accepted it and A Wrinkle in Time was published in 1962. Within the year, it had sold a million copies and won the Newberry Award.
"Do not abandon that confidence of yours," encourages the author of the Letter to the Hebrews. Instead "recall those earlier days when . . . you endured a hard struggle with sufferings." He reminds the early Christians that they were "not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith."
Madeleine L'Engel had that faith. Even after 26 rejections, she didn't abandon the confidence God had given her. Because of that endurance, this old world has been a far more enchanting place.
At the start of this new year, O God, give us the confidence to endure that we, like Madeleine L'Engel, might make this world a better place. Amen.
About the Author
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Worship for Vital Congregations, published by The Pilgrim Press.
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