“Do not become overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
This morning my kids and I were having a conversation about resilience. We had just finished an excellent biography about Dr. George Washington Carver. George was born a sickly slave and when he was about two weeks old his mother was stolen by some bandits and never seen again. The only thing that he had to remember her by was her bill of sale for $700.
Throughout his life George suffered many unimaginable difficulties and if anyone had an excuse to be ruined by anger or discouragement, it was George Carver. George did not allow that to happen. Instead, every time that something happened that might have caused George to give up or get even, he shook it off and moved forward. He refused to let his anger fester and he would not give up doing the things that God had put in his heart to do.
Dr. George Washington Carver became one of the most important figures in American history. His contributions to science alone would have secured him a solid place in history, but he did so much more than that.
George had a strong faith in God and led a weekly Bible study with more than 100 people in it for over 30 years.
He famously prayed that God would show him how to develop the humble peanut into something useful for farmers to grow as the Boll Weevil ate its way through the cotton crop of the South in the 1920’s. God showed him more than 100 uses for the peanut including peanut butter (thank you, Lord!), rubber and plastic. Switching from growing cotton to peanuts certainly saved countless farmers and their families from certain ruin.
By the end of our book, we all sat in humble silence at the excellent life that Dr. Carver had led.
“Imagine,” I told my children, “What the world would have lost if this brilliant man had allowed his life to be overcome by anger.”
We couldn’t imagine it.
You and I may not become the next George Washington Carver, but each of us can lead an excellent life using the skills and talents that God has given us to advance His Kingdom and serve others. But we won’t be able to do that if we allow ourselves to become derailed by our emotions or our negative experiences.
Let’s pray that we do not allow that to happen. Let’s ask God to help us to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good.