"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."
Sometimes the pressure and stress of the faithful churchman's life can reach fever-pitch levels. It is astounding what a believer can endure--as he or she goes through the furnaces of affliction and suffering. At the same time, the only cause of this strength and perseverance is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Fully commensurate with our pain and suffering is the joy and free-
dom of our release and resurrection in Christ. Are we in a very hard way today? Let us remember that God has delivered us in the past. He is also actively delivering us in the present; and He will deliver us in the future, (cf. vv. 9 & 10). Let us not lose heart--but rather press on.
[Puritan quote of the day: "Consider the company Christians keep. It is with the Father of glory. So Christians are indeed the excellent in the earth (Ps. 16:3)." --John Owen, in, "Communion with God"]