Oswald Chambers was a passionately prayerful evangelist as well as a pastor and educator. In the many books issued after his death, we find remarkably contemporary as well as ageless wisdom. The following excerpts are from Workmen of God.

If you are a worker for Jesus Christ, he will open your eyes wide to the fact that sin and misery and anguish are not imaginary, they are real. Anguish is as real as joy; fired, jangled, and tortured nerves are as real as nerves in order.… Listen to this, they are Luther’s own words:

“I am utterly weary of life. I pray the Lord will come forthwith and carry me hence. Let Him come above all with His last judgment, I will stretch out my neck, the thunder will burst forth and I shall be at rest.” And having a necklace of white agates in his hand at the time, he added: “O God, grant that it may come without delay. I would readily eat up this necklace today for the judgment to come tomorrow.” [A woman dining with Luther one day] said to him, “Doctor, I wish you may live 40 years to come.” “Madame,” replied he, “rather than live 40 years more, I would give up my chance of Paradise.”

That was Luther speaking at the end of his life. What produced the misery? He saw the havoc the Reformation had wrought, he did not see the good; he was too near it.

There was the same thing in Goethe’s writings; in 1824 he writes:

“I will say nothing against the course of my existence, but at the bottom it has been nothing but pain and burden, and I can affirm that, during the whole of my 75 years, I have not had four weeks of genuine well-being. It has been perpetual rolling of a rock that must be raised up again.”

Robert Louis Stevenson said that three hours out of every five he was insane with misery. John Stuart Mill ...

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