A Joint Calling

Marc Baer

READ : Deuteronomy 1:21

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (NIV)

Gertrude Hobbs was the daughter of a London clerk. “Biddy,” the nickname bestowed on her by Oswald Chambers, spent her childhood years suffering from bronchitis. Weakened by illness, she left school for good in her early teens but later took a shorthand correspondence course. Biddy achieved the remarkable rate of taking down more than 250 words per minute—near the maximum of what was physically possible. After her father died when she was 15, Biddy utilized her skills working as a secretary to help support her family.

In 1905 Gertrude Hobbs met Oswald Chambers when he visited the church the Hobbs attended. How and when Biddy Hobbs became a believer remains unclear—even her daughter was unaware of the details. From all the evidence her experience in coming to faith was straightforward.

Three years after she met Oswald Chambers, Hobbs left Britain with a friend to explore secretarial jobs in New York City. Corresponding with Oswald, Biddy discovered that the two shared a deep love for art, music, nature, animals, and books. They continued writing after she returned to Britain, became engaged, and in 1910 married. As they did so a shared calling emerged: both the Chambers felt it was God’s will for them to launch a Bible college in London; they also began to publish some of Oswald’s lectures. Remember, because of her childhood illness Biddy was a whiz at shorthand. Be ready for where this story is going.


Lord, help me to see opportunity in suffering.