For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us. (2Cointhians 1:8-10)
Our passage speaks again of the Lord's resurrection power operating in our daily Christian lives, in the process of sanctification and spiritual growth. The setting in which the Lord did this resurrecting work was in the midst of trials while serving God.
Paul did not want other believers to be unaware of his difficulties. "For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia." Too often, we are tempted to keep our struggles totally private. Thereby, we rob glory from God, when He delivers us. Also, we keep others from learning important lessons that come from watching God fulfill the faithful promises of His word.
Paul's battles were severe on this occasion. "We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves." Spiritually speaking, these trials were killing Paul and his missionary team. They were pressed down, overwhelmed, helpless, and hopeless. When we are in hopeless despair, our sufferings seem to be pointless. Yet, our difficulties (like Paul's) have this invaluable purpose built into them: "that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead."
We have frequently noted that living by grace requires humility and faith. God gives grace to the humble, and faith accesses grace. Well, in the trials of life, God is working on developing these relational realities (spiritual realities that become real through a growing relationship with Jesus).
Trials and difficulties become occasions to be humbled before God. We are provoked to cry out to God in helplessness. Also, trials present new opportunities to trust in the Lord. When the trials are intense, God is purging us of the primary obstacle to trusting in God, and that is self-trust.
We are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The Lord is able to give peace to the troubled conscience.
"Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead." When we are convinced that we cannot handle it, we call upon God, who faithfully resurrects us from our circumstantial death. "Who delivered us from so great a death?"
So our faith grows that He will continue to rescue us: "and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us." These blessings are given by him, as the Father of his redeemed family. It is our Saviour who says, Let not your heart be troubled. All comforts come from God, and our sweetest comforts are in him. He speaks peace to souls by granting the free remission of sins; and he comforts them by the enlivening influences of the Holy Spirit, and by the rich mercies of his grace. He is able to bind up the broken-hearted, to heal the most painful wounds, and also to give hope and joy under the heaviest sorrows. The favours God bestows on us, are not only to make us cheerful, but also that we may be useful to others. He sends comforts enough to support such as simply trust in and serve him. If we should be brought so low as to despair even of life, yet we may then trust God, who can bring us back even from death. Their hope and trust were not in vain; nor shall any be ashamed who trust in the Lord. Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us under obligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty, not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits received. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good to ourselves and others.
In dealing with trails we can say “why me” or we can say “what does God want me to learn here”.