Henry P. Crowell had seven years of preparation to reach good soil. In the early 1900s, his father died of tuberculosis. The doctors warned Henry that there was a very good chance that in his early twenties, he would get the same disease. The best cure would be for him to leave Cleveland, go west, and live outdoors for seven years. It was tough for Henry, who had to pass up the opportunity to attend Yale University, but he knew the biblical significance of seven years.
Through the valleys of Henry's life, his passion became a deep-hearted desire to serve the Lord. He considered the journey to be his divine appointment. Friends prayed for him as he sought to breathe normally during those years of frustration away from his family. But he took odd jobs on ranches and farms. He gained experience in business by buying and selling two farms in North Dakota. Henry prayed often and pledged that if the Lord would allow him to have a business enterprise, he would not name the business after himself.
When he finally returned home, Henry prayed for the right business of his own. Within 30 days, he was offered the opportunity to buy an old run down mill near Akron, Ohio. Adversity had prepared and chiseled his character through the hard, rocky, and thorny soils of life. He felt the confirmation of the Lord in buying the mill. Little did he know that the mill would become a giant known as the Quaker Oats Company.
"One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles
possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity."
- Albert Schweitzer