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 dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9
The suffering Paul and his companions were experiencing at this time felt like a death sentence. The burden of their suffering had drove them to the point that they had believed the time had come for them to lose their lives. This was suffering near its highest degree. It was painful and hard for Paul and His companions. Despair had gripped their hearts hard and attempted to drag them down.
In the midst of the despair and sorrow that surround Paul and his companions the God of all comfort came to them. The experience does not end in despair. Though, it does not end in immediate physical deliverance either. Comfort comes by the means of truth. There is a truth attained by the experience which Paul explains in the last sentence,
“to make us;” This tremendous burden of suffering had a purpose. There was an aim, a goal that it was set out to accomplish. No suffering is purposeless. This world in not random molecules bouncing around making chain reactions which cause suffering to come upon us. Far be it from that! Instead the very creator and sustainer of ever molecule has a purpose in every affliction in our lives. What is that purpose?
It is theological in giving us a correct vision of God
“to make us rely not on ourselves;” The first aspect of this correction is in making us see that we are not God. We are not lords over our lives. We like to think that we are. We like to think that we are in control of each and every day. But suffering is the clearest demonstration that this is not the case. We are not in control. We do not have any real power over the events that happen among us. Thus, suffering erases the false vision of self-sufficiency. We cannot rely on ourselves.
“but on God;” When suffering removes our reliance from ourselves the only place that is a sufficient rock is none other than God. Suffering brings us to the place where the only stable and sure foundation is the Lord of the universe. This is why God brings suffering, that it might drives us to Him! That all our hope and reliance would be on His love, His faithfulness, His sufficiency. In this we hope the truth that God is for us.
“who raises the dead.” It is not: rarely, maybe, sometimes. Our Lord always moves and works for His children. Our God is one who does mighty deeds and glorious works for His children. He never leaves them behind, but always fulfills the plan which he set out to do for them. Now, His plans are not our plans. Faith is holding on to this truth while waiting for the glorious plan of God to come to fruition. the glorious works of the Lord might be in raising one who was killed for His name sake. Or it could be in raising the dead soul of an unconverted friend to new life in Christ. But whatever the outcome, God will do wondrous deeds for His children.
Suffering is hard and painful, yet by faith we can hold to the truth that the purpose is more glorious than a life of ease. Let suffering drive us to Christ and His love!