Once again Paul is speaking of suffering - it is a common theme because it is common to man. Take comfort knowing that you are not alone as a sufferer. Take greater comfort in the use of the conjunction "but" as it links your sufferings to the hope that is ours in Christ!
You may be afflicted in every way, BUT you are not crushed. You may be perplexed, BUT you are not despairing. You may be persecuted, BUT you are not forsaken. You may be struck down, BUT you are not destroyed. Those are big buts!!
Henry writes: "They are suffering greatly. Still they were preserved and their heads were kept above water. Whatever condition the children of God may be in, in this world they have a grand 'but not' to comfort themselves with."
I don't know about you but I AM comforted by those three little linking letters. They link my seemingly hopeless situations to the God of hope. They link my sufferings to the God of comfort. They link my rough and rocky paths to the God who makes the way smooth. They link my circumstances to sovereignty. Oh my afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down friends - there is a big "but" - rest in the God who has granted it!