Weekly Advantage: February 2023 #4 - Resilience

I love to think of nature as unlimited broadcasting stations, through which God speaks to us every day, every hour and every moment of our lives, 

if we will only tune in and remain so.”

George Washington Carver

In this simple statement, George Washington Carver, reminds us that resilience requires tuning into and trusting God daily. Most people know George Washington Carver as one who rose above being born into slavery to become one of the most innovative and well-respected scientists in history. Others know him as the director of the Department of Agriculture at Tuskegee Institute or the agricultural advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt and political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi. 

Most people don’t realize his early life was tragic and yet he was resilient. Born as a slave, early in his life he lost his father to an accident, his mother to the business of slavery, and his brother to smallpox. On learning of his brother’s death, he wrote, “Being conscious as never before that I was left alone, I trusted God and pushed ahead,” and so he did, trusting the Lord to carry on.

Having been enrolled in school by his former master following the end of the Civil War, Carver’s love for learning grew. He was determined to go to college, but his first application was denied because of his race. He was not deterred but conducted his own biology experiments at home while attending a local college. He later became the first black student at Iowa State where he earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Through it all, he paid his own way, never allowing anyone to give him money, no matter how desperately it was needed. 

After earning his master’s degree, he continued to study, focused on restoring the soil of the deep south which had been left exhausted from the unrelenting cultivation of cotton. His research showed peanut and soybean crops could restore the soil as well as provide needed protein sources for southerners. The southern farmers began cultivating peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes but soon discovered market demand did not exist as it had for cotton. Carver went to work again, developing more than 300 products from peanuts – including milk, ink, soap – and more than 115 from sweet potatoes to increase the product demand. 

May we put on resilience, like Carver, and remember God’s promise in Psalm 37, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”


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