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 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 14 – Living a life of grit and faith

Isaiah 30:15-26 and Revelation 2:1-2

Our life journeys are sometimes smooth. Other times, there is adversity of which we could never have dreamed. It is not a matter of whether we will encounter adversity, but how we deal with it that matters. Do we trust in the Lord and keep our faith, or do we lose hope and hold onto bitterness? Isaiah 30:20-21 provides guidance: And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

My first encounter with real adversity was brief but intense. I was a sophomore in college, walking home from work one night. I went down a dark alley to help someone claiming to have car trouble. Instead, he and a partner were scheming to beat me with a crow bar. That adversity literally brought me to my knees, where I could not resist anymore. I recall deciding to let go and give the moment to God, thinking my death was imminent. Never have I felt so helpless and hopeless. Waiting for those final lethal blows that never came, I heard voices—a roaming gang of teenagers—coming to my rescue. For weeks, they visited me at work to see how I was doing. Friends and family also united, sharing their love in ways I had never before witnessed. They were all my teachers. I learned that while there is horrendous evil in the world, God’s light shines more powerfully in so many ordinary people.

Jesus’ first coming to earth was filled with a cast of ordinary characters, too. Shepherds and stable hands would not normally get top billing, but they had a front row seat to the Savior. The grit of that Bethlehem narrative, like the grit of my story, reminds me that God can work through any circumstance or challenge. I know God is there every step of my life, and in faith, I can focus on what truly matters. Revelation 2:10 reminds each of us, Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

Dr. Dan Semis the university dean of the Batterman School of Business Administration and has served at Concordia University since 2011. View a full schedule of “An uncommon Advent” readings here.

If you would like to order hard copies of An Uncommon Advent, please visit https://emsweb.cuw.edu/EmsRegics/An Uncommon Advent. If you wish to make a direct, tax-deductible contribution to the Living Water campaign, please visit https://www.watertothrive.org/campaigns/living-water-campaign/.

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