8/4 2 Corinthians 1:9

9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

While Paul and his team were in Asia, they suffered such hardships that they did not want to go on living. Life in this fallen world can be very difficult. Serving God brings additional suffering. Paul called it sharing "abundantly in Christ's sufferings" (2 Corinthians 1:5). They endured the suffering because they were advancing the Kingdom and seeking out lost souls to form new churches.

It seems that some were saying Paul's sufferings were due to some spiritual deficiency. The same accusation is slung about today. Paul told the believers that suffering is something we all experience, and perhaps those in ministry sometimes suffer more than others. But we also share in the comfort of God and pass that comfort on to others in their time of trial.

The work of God in the midst of the suffering is causing us to rely on Him. When we know we are too weak or discouraged to do what God has asked, we have to look to God for His strength. We have to depend on Him alone. I have found the Sundays when I felt most unable to preach because of health problems or lack of courage can end up with me delivering one of my best sermons. Why? Because the preaching has had to be in the Lord's strength and not my own. The One who raises the dead can raise our weak bodies or discouraged souls to do what He alone can do. Then He receives all the glory.

Consider: We should strive to rely on God even when we feel confident, for His strength is infinitely greater than ours.