Victor was born in the barrio of Carlsbad, California in 1940. Like his Mexican parents, he only spoke Spanish. In addition to the language barrier, Victor faced cultural challenges, when he began school, as well as blatant discrimination and a reading problem, later diagnosed as dyslexia.
In his Junior year, Victor quit school, moved back to Mexico, and worked for 10 years as a common labor, digging ditches and cleaning houses. During that time he met a compassionate young woman who taught him to read, which fueled his desire to be a writer.
By age 32 Victor had written 9 novels, 65 short stories, and 10 plays. And every one of them was rejected by publishers. But quitting was not an option for Victor.
In 1973, after receiving 260 rejections, he sold his book, Macho, a novel about a young farm worker who leaves his home in Mexico seeking a better life in California picking fruit. “The man endured backbreaking work, grueling conditions, and low wages, but, like the author, he never gives up.”
The LA Times compared Macho to the best of John Steinbeck, which began a journey for Victor Villaseñor to write and publish the best-seller Rain of Gold, which has been translated into seven languages.
Today Victor lives on the same ranch where he grew up in California. In addition to writing, he’s become an accomplished speaker. And has established a non-profit foundation promoting world peace. His motto is “We are all one race. The human race.”
Victor Villasenor’s story speaks to the power of persistence. Perseverance. And a dogged determination that will not quit regardless of the obstacles. Victor’s success gives credence to the old adage “If the dream is big enough, the facts don’t count.”
It also reminds me of an important spiritual principle and one of my favorite passages, I Corinthians 15:58.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Following Paul’s treatise on the hope of the resurrection, and the Christian’s victory over death, he encourages them not to give up or quit. Three words speak to the spirit of persistence.
Steadfast. This means to be firm. Stable. Fixed in purpose. It describes a person who can withstand temptation, who does not waver from what is right, and hold up under intense persecution.
Immovable. The steadfast Christ knows where he stands and is unwavering in his commitment to Christ. His faith is unfaltering. Unshakable. And unassailable.
Abounding. While immovable in faith, the persistent Christian is moving forward. Growing. Increasing. Excelling. Exceeding. The persistent disciple is always learning. Seeking. And sharing. He perseveres through weariness, weakness, and the wiles of the Devil’s assailants.
What is the outcome of such determination? Paul promises that your labor is not in vain. What labor? Spiritual labor. The work of ministry. The edification of the Body of Christ. The outreach of the lost. Years of study, prayer, worship, fellowship, discipleship, and service are not wasted. They are rewarded. Richly rewarded.
Why does this persistence pay spiritual dividends? Because of Christ’s resurrection. He defeated the devil, overcame death, and paved the way for us to be raised from the grave with an incorruptible body that will enjoy eternal immortality.
The life and exhortation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr remind us to never quit. “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman