Awareness that Refreshes Our Hearts.

Paul makes the Corinthians believers aware of his own hardship in 2 Corinthians 1:6-11. We can benefit from other people's struggles. They encourage us to persevere and endure in our own walk of faith until Christ returns.

Several Bible characters experienced moments that they felt were the end of the road. Elijah felt this way in 1 Kings 19:1-8. He tired of the struggle and simply wanted his life to end. Jesus faced the end of his life in the garden at Gethsemane and struggled intensely in prayer (Luke 22:39-46). 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 show that Paul too had moments when he despaired of life. Even life lived in service of the Gospel can be very difficult, but those who live it provide an example of grace.

The noise of affliction can be very distracting. We need others in our lives, especially those who are older or more experienced in the Lord, to help us keep our focus on the truth.

In times of hardship and affliction, our primary dependence is on God. Our secondary support must be interdependence with other believers. We need each other's assistance through prayer in order to persevere well in our Christian walk.

Paul's suffering in Asia that he mentions in verse 8 probably refers to his time in Ephesus. (See Acts 19.) He felt or even had a death sentence pronounced on him. At the end of his own strength, he could not trust himself. He had to trust God and His promises. He relays this experience as an example to his Corinthian audience and for us as well.

Paul had experienced God's deliverance and was confident He would do so again (verse 10). This was the remedy for his affliction. Only God could help.

Paul gives an example of reorienting by looking up. When we are alone in our agony, the Holy Spirit as our paraclete intercedes for us and ministers to our hearts (Romans 8:26-27). After receiving personal ministry from God, we next can learn from an older, more experienced believer.

Verse 11 highlights the huge importance of praying for one another. Prayer helps us persevere well. We must grow in prayer in times of suffering. Indeed, we can't help doing so! The word Paul uses for "help" shows this is a powerful, effective way that we work together under the pressure of suffering.

The result of working together through prayer is thanks given to God. The image is of many faces upturned in prayer.

"God is always preparing us for what He is preparing for us." He assists us in our suffering through the intercessory prayer of His people.

Application Points

  • Have you experienced an "end of the rope" moment? When we find ourselves at the end of our own strength, we are forced to abandon our self-reliance and trust God and His promises. How can you reorient yourself by looking up?
  • In this unusual time in our world, has your prayer life changed? Have your habits of intercession grown? How will you continue working together with your family in Christ through intercessory prayer?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Luke 5:7, Romans 8:26 – Uses of the same word for "help" that emphasizes working together.
  • Philippians 1:3-5 – Thanksgiving to God.
A Hymn to Encourage: "O Great God"

O great God of highest heaven,
Occupy my lowly heart.
Own it all and reign supreme;
Conquer every rebel power.
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war.
You have loved and purchased me;
Make me Yours forevermore.

I was blinded by my sin,
Had no ears to hear Your voice,
Did not know Your love within,
Had no taste for heaven's joys –
Then Your Spirit gave me life,
Opened up Your Word to me,
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace!

Help me now to live a life
That's dependent on Your grace;
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face.
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed!
O great God of highest heaven,
Glorify Your Name through me!