An (Imagined) Interview With Biddy Chambers (Part 1)

What would an interview with Biddy Chambers look like?

Don’t think I haven’t wondered.

Last All Saint’s Day, our pastor began the children’s sermon with a question, “Who do you look forward to seeing in heaven?”

He suggested the disciples, Moses, perhaps even Elijah for some excitement.

My mind wondered, “Why stop there? Why not Martin Luther himself, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or even, Oswald ChambersInterview, imagined Biddy Chambers interview, living your utmost for God's highest glory, Oswald Chambers, biographer, Mrs. Oswald Chambers?”

I gasped. “But what about Biddy Chambers?”

I trembled. How would I ever face her? Couldn’t I slip into heaven through a back door and avoid her for a few thousand years?

Of course not.

I’d put on a brave smile when I saw her determined face, but feel better to see Oswald standing behind her, laughing.

The first question: Why?

BC: “Why did you write a biography about me?”

MU: Shouldn’t I be asking the questions?

BC “I went to great trouble to shield myself from the world’s scrutiny.”

Perfectly true. Gertrude Annie Hobbs Chambers’ name never appeared in a single Oswald Chambers book. The few times she wrote a foreword, she referred to herself as “B.C.”

The one book she compiled that was not exclusively Oswald Chambers’ words was Oswald Chambers: His Life and Works. In that book of recollections, she referred to “my husband,” when sharing her memories. She didn’t share many.

(If you look for a copy of that long out-of-print book, she’s listed as “Mrs. Bertha Chambers,” which, of course, is not her name.)

But to answer Biddy’s imagined question–I wrote the biography because I thought her life had a lot of things to say to modern believers.

What about Oswald’s teachings?

BC: “Oswald’s teachings were more important than anything I did.”

MU: Perhaps, but you lived out his teachings. Your life exemplified the title of the devotional. You lived your utmost to God‘s highest glory.

BC: “I merely lived as a normal woman serious about Jesus Christ.”

MU: A woman who traveled across an ocean to America looking for a different life by herself in 1908? Who married a man without any money who promised you poverty?

BC: “Oswald painted no romantic pictures.”

She smiled at him.

Interview, imagined Biddy Chambers interview, living your utmost for God's highest glory, Oswald Chambers, biographer, Mrs. Oswald ChambersAs I’m sure he would be sitting in on this interview, I’d look at him, too, and raise my eyebrows.

Oswald Chambers: “This is Biddy’s story.”

BC: “We were a well-matched team. He would speak, I would take down and together we would produce the books. Oswald, like his mentor Reader Harris, believed

‘Probably the most lasting of all preaching is with the pen. It continues to speak after the voice is hushed in death.’

“Certainly that proved to be true with Oswald’s teachings.”

MU: I like to say, “Without Oswald we have no inspired words or teachings; without Biddy we have no books, particularly My Utmost for His Highest.”

Oswald Chambers: “The Holy Spirit spoke through me, but without Biddy we wouldn’t be sitting in heaven talking about your biography.”

(See how likable OC is, and funny!)

Haphazard actions

MU: According to Kathleen, Oswald used to say we should look for the haphazard  to see God at work.

BC: In “If Ye Shall Ask,” I quote him as saying:

“We must take the discerning of the haphazard arrangements of our lives from God.

“If once we accept the Lord Jesus Christ and the domination of His Lordship, then nothing happens by chance, because we know that God is ordering and engineering circumstances; the fuss has gone, the amateur providence has gone, the amateur disposer has gone, and we know that “all things work together for good to them that love God.”

MU: Kathleen said that describes your life as well. If you had not suffered from bronchitis as a child, none of the books would have been written.

BC: “True. My bronchitis is one of the reasons why I learned shorthand.”

Personal Questions?

MU: The other?

BC: “How can you ask me that question? I was a Victorian woman. We don’t discuss personal family issues.”

MU gazes at her silently.

Interview, imagined Biddy Chambers interview, living your utmost for God's highest glory, Oswald Chambers, biographer, Mrs. Oswald Chambers

Biddy’s mother, Emily Gardner Hobbs

BC looks back.

“If they must know, it’s in your book. My mother would be horrified at the facts you uncovered.”

MU (Thinking, “that’s what I was afraid of.”) But it all played a part in what happened to you and why we even know about Oswald Chambers’ teachings today.

BC: “Yes.”

MU waits. “I didn’t dig up anything salacious.”

BC: “Really? My mother, aunt and grandmother are waiting to speak to you next.”

MU sees Mrs. Hobbs, Mrs. Hobbs and Mrs. Gardner listening with raised eyebrows, looking unamused.

BC: “I did think you found interesting facts about Woolwich and you were right about the rocket.”

MU laughing. “You were an infant when that happened. You can’t remember the rocket.”

BC: “Were there any other questions? I’m sure it’s time for tea.”

As I well know, that’s how Biddy sidestepped tricky questions . . .

Part 2 will appear next week, in which we discuss the events in Egypt and the war.

Happy Wedding Day, Oswald and Biddy! Biddy and Oswald Chambers: Tourists In America with Biddy and Oswald Chambers

You can purchase a copy here

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