my books: friends & counselors #9

C.K. Barrett gives us a crucial, timeless reminder in his comments on 2 Cor. 1.9

Physical illness, the shadow of death, the failure of his work in Corinth, were among the causes that led to the breaking down of a man who, if any had ground for confidence in the flesh, had more (Phil. 3.4; cf. 2 Cor. 11.22f). The church at Corinth, like many another since, thought it could by-pass affliction on the way to comfort; the theme of the epistle is that this is impossible (cf. Acts 14.22). Christian discipline means, for an apostle and for the church as a whole, a progressive weakening of man’s instinctive self-confidence, and of the self-despair to which this leads, and the growth of radical confidence in God.

The Second Epistle to the Corinthians by Charles Kingsley Barrett (Hendrickson, 1987); p.66