Friends! I’m sad to report I’ve just finished a total page-turner, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, however I’m GLAD to report it’s a must-read for you and the history buffs in your life! Hurry and grab some copies for Christmas gifts! You’ll be a hero to whomever you give it to.
Author Michelle Ule has gone to amazing lengths (I cannot even fathom the amount of research she’s done to write this book.) to give us glimpses of life with Mr. and Mrs. Oswald Chambers.
Reading Mrs. Oswald Chambers is akin to opening a treasure chest, each chapter more mind blowing than the previous one. You’ll fall in love with each person you meet, some friends and some family of the Chambers’, plus you’ll feel as if you’re traveling with them, about to have tea at their table, or sitting in one of Oswald’s classrooms.
I confess I’d never considered learning more of Oswald or his family until I caught Michelle being interviewed by Eric Metaxas recently. (www.metaxastalk.com Interview aired October 19th, 2017) After hearing Michelle’s discoveries, I promptly ordered her book.
I have the well-known devotional My Utmost for His Highest thanks to a copy my Mother gave to my Father.
I also learned there’s a modern-day version of the devotional which is on my Christmas list as some of the original entries are a tad tricky to comprehend for this feeble brain of mine. (This scenario reminds me of the time we read Randy Alcorn’s book on Heaven for Book Club. It was like attending a class at the seminary. Shortly afterwards, the children’s version came out and we were all so happy. I digress…)
Michelle’s book reads like a novel. Her skillful writing introduces you to Oswald and “Biddy” as she was called, allowing you to see how they met and watching how they lived their daily lives. Everyone loves a good love story, especially a true one!
Biddy’s name evolved from the nickname Oswald gave her, “Beloved Disciple” which she said was a mouthful. A sweet one at that!
Their lives exemplify Romans 8:28 like I’ve never seen…
Biddy was a good student growing up, however repeated cases of bronchitis caused her to miss so much school she had to drop out. She ultimately landed in secretarial school and became highly proficient as a stenographer, able to take down 250 words/minute vs. an average 150 words/minute.
Don’t you know upon meeting Oswald, clearly orchestrated by our gracious God, Biddy was the one who took down all of his speeches, talks, sermons, word for word, accumulating trunks full of his wisdom.
It was Biddy who compiled My Utmost for His Highest, which wasn’t published until ten years after Oswald’s death. He died seven years after they married.
This devotional, now translated into many different languages, has NEVER been out of print and is still today the bestselling devotional of all times. (It is one of twenty-nine books Biddy put together.)
After Biddy and Oswald married, they were blessed with a one and only daughter they named Kathleen. Sadly, Kathleen never married. She was only four years old when her Daddy died, thus her memories of him largely came from her Mother’s stories.
Biddy and Oswald’s love for the Lord and His Word is hugely inspirational to us readers. We see them plan their days, bookending them with prayer and reading of Scripture. Their prayer times and study of God’s Word were non-negotiable.
Their utter trust in God and His sovereignty is equally inspirational. They never worried about money from the very start of their marriage and Biddy didn’t change that tune once she was widowed.
Biddy prayed this prayer every morning, “I give the day over into God’s hands, completely so that He will look after who comes.” Biddy’s friends said she was known to drop whatever she was doing when someone stopped in, brewing countless cups of tea.
It was fascinating to me to learn Biddy and Oswald faithfully read The Daily Light. I first learned of this book from Anne Graham Lotz. She’s republished it thanks to her learning of it from her Mother and Grandmother.
Anne’s Grandmother gave a copy to her Mother, Ruth, who in turn gave a copy to each of her children when they were ten years old. Anne has now given copies of The Daily Light to her children and grandchildren. This way, they’re all reading the same Scripture every day. It was the Bagster family who originally published the book in the late 1800’s.
Early into the book we glean tidbits about Oswald: “The six-foot tall man who addressed the congregation that December was in his early thirties. Angular and lanky with deep-set blue eyes and brown hair swept from a receding hairline, Oswald Chambers relished opportunities to talk about Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God himself.”
“Genial, with a playful sense of humor, and gifted with words, he talked quickly and with an intensity that captured his listeners’ attention. Oswald lectured extemporaneously, without notes. His only goal: ‘To have honorable mention in somebody’s life in introducing them to God.’”
Devoted workers/teachers/missionaries, Biddy and Oswald did manage to escape for a holiday each year where they could recharge. Both lovers of nature and God’s creation, they referred to their al fresco picnics as “My Heavenly Father’s Dining Room.”
How they later wound up in Egypt during World War I is a grand story you won’t want to miss. Their ministry’s impact was far reaching, one soldier claiming he realized the reason he was enlisted must’ve been for the Lord to reach him thru’ Oswald’s preaching. That’s one of many, many heartwarming stories.
Oswald’s determination to reach as many people for the Lord as possible caused him to burn the midnight oil. I worried about his health wondering how he could possibly keep up such a rigorous schedule.
You’ll not want to learn about his untimely death, however Biddy’s reaction and dedication to the Lord following Oswald’s death are what kept her going. What she accomplishes afterwards is simply miraculous.
Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Mrs. Oswald Chambers—the Woman Behind the World’s Bestselling Devotional for yourself and for your friends this Christmas. I promise you all will be beyond blessed.
‘Til next time!