2 Corinthians 1:8-11a
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 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 the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer...
This scripture absolutely blows my mind. The great Apostle Paul who had a life-changing encounter with the risen, glorified Jesus, who had the transcendent experience of visiting the third heaven, here describes a time that he was brought to the brink of despair. He speaks of being so utterly burdened beyond his strength that he despaired of life itself.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever looked down and your toes were on the edge of the pit of despair, of giving up, of throwing in the towel? I have, and I find it comforting that Paul, a man of great faith, experienced these feelings.
He also gives us some insight into how to persevere through difficult times.
1. Remember, our God can raise the dead. Our own effort to deal with things is pretty puny compared to that.
2. Our God is a deliverer. Remember the times He has delivered you and trust that He will do it again.
3. Ask for prayer support.
As a word of personal testimony, it is during times of despair that I have had the most amazing encounters with God. He meets us there and peels our toes off the brink.