James Denney (pictured), expounding 2 Corinthians 1:9 a century ago--
It is natural . . . for us to trust in ourselves. It is so natural, and so confirmed by the habits of a lifetime, that no ordinary difficulties or perplexities avail to break us of it. It takes all God can do to root up our self-confidence. He must reduce us to despair; He must bring us to such an extremity that the one voice we have in our hearts, the one voice that cries to us wherever we look round for help, is death, death, death.
It is out of this despair that the superhuman hope is born. It is out of this abject helplessness that the soul learns to look up with new trust to God.
--The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (New York: Armstrong, 1905), 24-25; see here
HT: Sam Storms (p. 211)