The Uninvited Companion: God’s Shaping Us In His Love through Life’s Adversities is a culmination of wresting with God and his Word through year’s of personal, physical adversity.
Here is an excerpt:
My Hannah-Like Prayer Moment
I remember clearly a Hannah-like prayer that was formed within me. This was not some well-crafted, long-thought-out prayer. It simply rolled off my lips, unrehearsed, one day. I was not prepared for what I said. It makes me wonder that Hannah’s may not have been planned either (see 1 Samuel 1:1-11).
My wife, Beth, was driving me home from yet another unhelpful medical appointment. I was simply too chronically exhausted to drive. My head was resting on the passenger window of our car. A tear rolled down my cheek and a prayer rolled off the edges of my heart: “Allow this to continue for as long as you want, to do whatever you want in my life.”
Where did that prayer come from? I suspect in the recesses of my soul, where the Holy Spirit was shaping a deep, new form within me, such words took seed. I had never prayed such a prayer before. Up until then, I only wanted to be better. Fast. But the God of Hannah was birthing in me a posture toward him that had previously not existed. Like Hannah, a livelier response was being born in my heart.
God has answered that prayer. I am a different person than I was. He has not answered prayers about getting physically better, yet he continues to use physical illness to ripen this soul of mine. What’s more is that he has shaped me in ways that allow me to tend to others more sensitively. Like Hannah, God can use all our pains for others’ gain.
Such prayers are one of the fruits of enduring through prolonged pain. What if God, in his wisdom, love, and mercy, is allowing us, yes, even causing us, to experience some pain in our lives to shape yet nonexistent reality in and around us? Does that make the pain any easier to live with? Certainly not. But it can take our engagement with God in profoundly different directions.
We can now be open to the paradigm of yielding to God in his redemptive purposes in us, rather than merely demanding he relieve us of our suffering. Hannah has shown us an entirely different response. This courageous housewife has shown us a beautiful, enlivened way to respond to suffering, even as the tears continued to flow over the losses she was asked to live with—years of barrenness followed by sacrificially giving her young son to be raised to serve in the temple and, eventually, for the well-being of a nation.
(Excerpted from The Uninvited Companion: God’s Shaping Us in His Love though Life’s Adversities ©Scott E. Shaum, 2017; pp. 38-39).
The book is due for release on November 15, 2017. I will have copies at the Mental Health and Missions Conference (IN) November 16-19 and at Grace Community Church, Detroit, MI on November 25 and 26. Copies will be available via Amazon, both print and Kindle versions soon thereafter. You can also obtain a print copy directly from me for $12 including postage mailed within the US.