Before dawn on most days, Newsweek recently reported, President George W. Bush gets up to read his Bible and to pray. His devotional guide, as it is for many evangelicals, is My Utmost for His Highest, by Scottish preacher Oswald Chambers (1874-1917).
"Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led," says Chambers' devotional for the day bombs first fell on Iraq. "But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. … Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world."
My Utmost For His Highest may be daily informing Bush's faith, but the president and others may find his other writings even more pertinent to today's circumstances.
"War is the most damnably bad thing," Chambers said shortly before his death. "Because God overrules a thing and brings good out of it does not mean that the thing itself is a good thing. … [However,] if the war has made me reconcile myself with the fact that there is sin in human beings, I shall no longer go with my head in the clouds, or buried in the sand like an ostrich, but I shall be wishing to face facts as they are." And that will be a good thing, Chambers wrote, because "it is not being reconciled to the fact of sin that produces all the disasters in life."
Last year, renowned theologian and Christianity Today Senior Editor J.I. Packer examined what Chambers and C.S. Lewis can teach today's Christians about living in a time of war. That article is available here.1