Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Woman Behind One of the Best-Loved Devotional Books In the World

My Utmost for His Highest is one of the best known daily devotional books in the world. Pastor Dean even mentioned it here on this blog on Monday. Although Oswald Chambers’ name is on the cover, it was actually compiled by his wife, Biddy, after his death. She was an incredible stenographer and had verbatim notes from his lectures at the Bible college they founded during the first years of their short marriage right before World War I. From her notes, she compiled the 365 devotionals that have impacted countless believers all over the world since uninterrupted publication in 1935.

Gertrude “Biddy” Hobbs and Oswald Chambers met on an ocean voyage to the United States in 1908. Going their separate ways, they began to write letters to each other after that voyage. In 1910 they married. In 1911 they founded the Bible Training College in Clapham, England; and in 1913 their only child, Kathleen was born.

In October of 1915, Oswald left for Zeitoun, Egypt. World War I had started and he was commissioned as a YMCA chaplain. Biddy and Kathleen went to Egypt to join him in December. Imagine Biddy and the 2 ½ year old Kathleen traveling from England to Egypt during WWI!

But in 1917 Oswald Chambers died from complications of a ruptured appendix. He was 43 years old. Biddy and Kathleen made their way back to England where they continued in a writing ministry and hospitality the rest of their lives. Remember, My Utmost for His Highest book wasn't published until 1935. I wonder what those in-between years were like? 

A young widow with a 4-year-old daughter, traveling between Egypt and England during WWI, persevering for eighteen years to transcribe and garner devotionals from her husband’s sermons to benefit others . . . ? How'd she do that?

And Biddy is just one of many examples of amazing widows. Many other amazing widows are among us today, reading this blog and interacting with godly wisdom and great fellowship on Lifeboat, one of our Facebook support groups. Widows are my heroes! I wish everyone knew what a hidden treasure they are!


  1. That is an amazing story! Thank you for sharing it, Ferree.

  2. Blessed are they who die in the Lord and
    their works do follow them. Rev.14:13

  3. It's pretty humbling to think how the Lord turned their lives and works into such a blessing. I wonder if in a hundred years what the world, our families, our legacies will remember of each of us.


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