II Corinthians 1:8-11 “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”
In my devotions this morning I started reading II Corinthians and the Lord really spoke to me through verses 8-11 in chapter one.
We will have troubles and trials – “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia” (v.8) – Paul is letting us know we are all going to have troubles, we are going to have trials, we are going to have perplexing issues and circumstances come into our life – even as we are in the middle of God’s will for our life – we will, it is guaranteed, we will have problems, trials, and troubles.
Our trials, our problems, our troubles can seem overwhelming and absolutely unbearable in their severity at times – “we were pressed out of measure, above strength” (v.8), – Paul is telling the Corinthians and us that these problems, these trials he had, were overwhelming in their emotional immensity, toil, and strain on him. He was “pressed” by these problems, by these issues, he was “pressed” by this circumstance, “out of measure, above strength” beyond what he thought he could get through.
We may despair “even of life” (v.8) – He was, what we might say “stressed out,” he was on the verge of giving up, he just wanted it to end “insomuch that we despaired even of life” (v.8). Paul was weighed down with an emotional load, due to this trouble, that was too heavy for him to bear. But God knew just how much Paul could take and He knows how much we can take, and God will keep the situation in control. We do not know what the specific “trouble” was for Paul (and I think that is intentional so we can apply these verses to our circumstances), but this trial for Paul was great enough to make him think he was going to die. Whether it was peril from his many enemies, a serious illness or a threat of one, or special satanic attack, we do not know; but we do know that God controlled the circumstances and protected His servant. “When God puts His children into the furnace, He keeps His hand on the thermostat and His eye on the thermometer Paul may have despaired of life, but God did not despair of Paul.”
Don’t trust yourself in the trial – Trust God in the trial – “that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God” (v.9) – We need to put our trust in God in the trials and not ourselves. But why should we trust God? – Because we know He is a miracle working God, “God which raiseth the dead” (v.9). Even if our trial, God forbid, ends in our death – we serve the God that “raiseth the dead!” – We do not even have to fear death itself. Trust God, trust the God that “raiseth the dead.” He is a miracle working God. He can help when it seems help is not possible. He can solve the problems that look unsolvable. He can rescue you when it seems impossible. He will provide, He will work, and He will rescue, all in His timing – we just need to trust and obey.
Our God “doth deliver”! (v.10) – Our God will deliver us from our trials, from our problems, from our terrible circumstances. Paul testified of this fact in verse ten when he said that God “delivered us from so great a death.” God delivered Paul from this great trial, and He will deliver us too. Notice the wording is this verse it says “doth deliver” that is present tense delivering. That pertains to us today as much as it did to Paul 2000 years ago – our God “doth deliver!” He delivers His children from the fire of trials and trouble.
We need to trust Him that He will deliver us – don’t lose your faith “in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us” (v.10) – We need to put our trust in Him. We need to trust God with the problem. Remember we were already reminded to not trust in ourselves in the trial, now we are being specifically reminded to trust God in the trials. We need to trust God to “deliver us” from the trial. Paul tells us, in the midst of a trial that makes us despair “even of life” (v.8) to trust God for “he will yet deliver us!” (v.10). Praise God! Don’t lose hope, don’t lose faith, and keep in mind, we serve the God that, present tense, “doth deliver” and “will yet deliver us!”
Finally, we need to help each other by praying for each other in trials – “Ye also helping together by prayer for us,” – You know the best way we can help each other is to pray for each other. Of course we ought to help in any way we can, but the best source of help for each of us is prayer. We need to help each other, we need to help our fellow believers, we need to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, by prayer.
Do we pray for each other like we should? Paul says “Ye also helping together by prayer for us” (v.11). These believers, were nowhere near Paul when he was in this deep despair, this incredible trial, yet they helped him. How did they do that? How did they help Paul when he was not near and they could not physically do anything for Him? – They helped him because they were praying for him. They helped him by prayer. It says they were “helping together by prayer.” We need to pray with each other especially in trying times and trials. Pray “together” with other Christians, have some prayer partners, and pray for each other in times of need, pray for each other in times of trouble, pray for each other in times of despairing “even of life” (v.8). Pray for each other. Pray together for others in need. Seek to be part of the “Ye” in verse 11, “Ye also helping together by prayer for us.” Be a help to others – pray for them!
 (Wiersbe, 2007)