"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" (II Corinthians 1:8).
Every Christian must endure times of great pressure, for this is part of our training for God's service in eternity. "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Philippians 1:29). "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him" (James 1:12).
Probably none of us, however, will ever be called on to endure the pressures experienced by Paul. When one feels that he or she is "pressed out of measure, above strength," it would be salutary simply to read again his frightful experiences recorded in II Corinthians 11:23-33.
And then read how Paul dealt with these pressures! His testimony is found in the three verses following our text verse for the day. "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" (II Corinthians 1:9-11).
The answer to the awful pressures of life and circumstances, therefore, is not to rely on our own strength and ability to overcome them, but to trust in the God who can raise the dead! Our own prayerful trust is to be supported also by the prayers of our friends, so that they also can share the joy when deliverance comes. Let us regard such pressures, then, as an opportunity for growth, for prayer, for trust, and for joyful testimony when God delivers. HMM