2 Corinthians 1:8
“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:”
When Paul described his situation, he said that he was “pressed out of measure.” The word “pressed” is a strong word to use because he was saying that God pushed him beyond his limit. There were three things God pressed in Paul’s life.
First, Paul was “pressed out of measure.” In other words, God took him out of his comfort zone. God often can’t use the believer who is comfortable with their own abilities. The only way God can get the believer to grow is to put so much pressure on them that they are no longer comfortable. It is when you get out of your comfort zone that you will realize your inability to do what you thought you could do. God can’t take over your life to help you if you are comfortable without Him.
Second, Paul was pressed “above strength.” In other words, God took Paul further than what he was strong enough to handle. One of the mistakes of the mature believer is that they learn how to do the LORD’s work in their own power. God often allows you to get to a point in your life when you are no longer strong enough to do what you need done. One of the purposes of trials is to show the believer their weakness and His strength.
Third, Paul was pressed so much that he “despaired even of life:” In other words, God took Paul to the point where he didn’t have confidence in his own abilities. The longer you are saved, the more confidence you tend to have in what you can do, but God needs you to lose confidence in yourself and place your confidence in Him.
Why would God allow the believer to be pressed to this point? He answers this in verse 9 when He says, “…that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:” God brings us beyond ourselves so that we have to trust Him. God says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “…for my strength is made perfect in weakness….” God can only show His strength through the believer when they are weak.
Three things happen when God presses us to the point of trusting Him. First, trusting God brings comfort to the believer. God knows that when you place your trust in Him, you will receive the comfort you need to face whatever you are facing. Second, trusting God gives you the strength to do what you need to do. When you trust God’s power and not your own is when you will find the strength you need to accomplish the thing that pressed you beyond yourself. Third, trusting God gives you hope that what you are facing is not as big as you originally thought. When God gives you the strength to do what you thought you could not do, you will have the hope that whatever you are facing is something you can handle.
My friend, the pressures life brings are not as bad if you simply trust the LORD. When you get to the point that the only thing you can do is trust the LORD, you are at a point when the impossible becomes possible. Don’t despair when you think you are beyond yourself; instead, trust the LORD so that He can help you face the pressures that are pressing you.