George Washington Carver: A Life of Amazing Faith and Purpose

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries4 Minutes

No one knows his real birthdate, but decades after his death, he’s honored around the world.

Born during the Civil War to a woman enslaved to the Carver family, Carver wasn’t destined to be a slave. But paradoxes would surround Carver throughout his lifetime. His deep faith in the kind presence of God enabled him to not only overcome obstacles, it allowed him to be a world-changer who would impact generations to come.

After roving marauders kidnapped George and his mom, the Carvers searched and secured George’s return. His mother was never found, but Mrs. Susan Carver nursed George back to health and raised him until about the age of 10. George received a basic education and spent much time in the garden and woods of the property.

George’s ability to nurse sick plants back to health soon earned him the nickname Plant Doctor. As a young child, he began a daily habit of reading the Bible and seeking wisdom from its author. He once stated, “Never have I been without this consciousness of the Creator speaking to me.”

In pursuit of more education, George left the Carvers and found a world deeply divided by segregation and dangerous racism. His persevering faith guided him over every obstacle. Working for others and launching his own laundry business, George completed high school and enrolled in college. Heartbreakingly when he arrived, the college turned him away because of the color of his skin.

Penniless, George found work, made friends, and began taking art classes. His art instructor persuaded him to enroll at a Christian college in Iowa to study art, and in 1893, Carver’s work was exhibited at the World Fair.

Despite his artistic success, Carver felt called to a life purpose of increasing “the welfare and happiness of God’s people.” He decided studying agriculture offered more potential for helping mankind than pursuing an art career. George’s dedication to God guided his life. “Jesus said one must become as a little child … he must let no laziness, no fear, no stubbornness keep him from his duty. My work, my life must be in the spirit of a little child seeking only to know the truth and follow it.”

In Carver’s eyes, the desires of the world ran contrary to the desires of a good God. So Carver aimed to be the link for bridging that chasm. He lived with “one hand in the hand of a fellow man in need and the other hand in Christ” believing God would fill the vacuum with goodness.

“As I worked on projects which fulfilled a real human need, forces were working through me which amazed me. I would often go to sleep with an apparently insoluble problem. When I woke, the answer was there.”

While Carver’s legendary knowledge of agriculture and nutrition primarily improved lives in his generation, his example of Christian living offers hope for every generation.

George Washington Carver rose above every unfair, unjust, unreasonable difficulty by trusting in the personal presence of his loving Savior. With his life rooted in the love of God, hate neither stopped him nor drove him. The epitaph on his gravestone reveals the key to the legacy of love he left for others:

“He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.”