Editor's note: "An uncommon Advent: the arrival of a Savior in our lives" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Ann Arbor and Wisconsin community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.

December 3 – When the worst thing is actually the BEST thing!

Isaiah 9:8-10:11 and 1 Peter 5:1-14

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who hascalled you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

God can use suffering to grab our attention as He works in our lives to accomplish His purposes. Suffering can strengthen our trust in God, test our faith, grow our character, and prepare us for eternal glory in Christ.

Twenty-five years ago, my family experienced a prolonged suffering. For a year, my husband battled serious health problems following a transplant. He was in and out of the hospital on a regular basis—27 times, per my then six-year old son, who kept a count. I felt we were experiencing the worst possible things that could happen.

During this time, we clung to God’s promises and believed He was working through this situation. It was hard to look beyond the circumstances until we fully trusted that God was working amidst the suffering. Our growing faith opened our eyes to see how God was intervening. Sometimes, it was something small, like a meal or someone to help with the children. Yet it was always exactly what we needed at that precise time. Encouragement by friends, vigilant prayer sessions, and family support all resulted in us handling challenges with more patience, love, and grace. Just before Christmas that year, my husband experienced the dramatic healing of a life threatening health problem. This miracle brought good health to my husband and allowed us to celebrate the birth of Jesus with our out-of-state family members, something we had given up hope of doing.

While we did not realize the extent of God’s work until later, he used our suffering to mold us to be more like Jesus and to change each of us for His glory in ways that I do not believe would have happened otherwise. It turned out that the worst thing I could have imagined happening actually was the BEST thing.

During the days of Advent before you, consider how God has turned hard moments into blessed ones. And, if you are experiencing a hardship right now, wait upon the Lord’s perfect plan for strength and restoration.

Dr. Cindy Fenske is the campus dean of the School of Nursing at Concordia University Ann Arbor and has served at Concordia since 2015. View a full schedule of “An uncommon Advent” readings here.

If you would like to order hard copies of An Uncommon Advent, please visit Uncommon Advent. If you wish to make a direct, tax-deductible contribution to the Living Water campaign, please visit

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.