Romans 8:28 is one of the most helpful and hurtful scriptures in the Bible. It says:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
This verse encourages us so much. It reminds that God uses everything – every joy and sorrow, every pleasure and pain, every breeze and backache – for our good and his glory. Nothing is outside of his good, sovereign plan for our lives.
But at times Satan twists this verse and uses it to convince us that Jesus likes it when we suffer. We adopt a defeatist, grin and bear it, suck it up, Eeyore, “I guess this suffering is good for me”, attitude. We start to believe that, in some way, Jesus likes it when we suffer. We know that he uses suffering for our good and for his purposes, but then we take it one step further and start to believe that because suffering is for our good, Jesus must somehow enjoy inflicting it upon us.
The idea that Jesus likes your suffering is a lie from the pit of the Hell. It is a Satanic, demonic, horrendous lie. It is a lie that must be crushed and obliterated by the Word of God.
Jesus does not like your suffering, he hates it. He despises it. When Jesus encountered death and suffering, he was not flippant about it, he was grieved by it. When Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, he went to meet Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha.
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. (John 11:32-35)
When Jesus saw the depths of Mary’s sorrow, he was “greatly troubled”. The Greek behind these words carries a flavor of anger and rage. When Jesus saw the destruction and carnage that sin and Satan had brought into the world, he was furious. When he saw the grief that swallowed up Mary and Martha he was enraged. Jesus came into the world to destroy the works of sin and Satan. When he witnessed the suffering that sin and Satan had brought into the world he was furious. There was a holy anger that bloomed within him.
Jesus hates suffering. Death and suffering were never part of God’s original, good creation. They are the result of sin and Satan. Jesus hates your suffering. He hates the fact that you suffer migraine headaches. He hates that you feel like an outcast and loner. It makes him furious that you were sexually assaulted. It makes him sick that you are bullied and mistreated. Jesus hates the work of sin and Satan. Jesus hates your suffering.
When you suffer, run to Jesus. He too experienced pain, rejection, sorrow, grief, and temptation. Because Jesus suffered, he knows exactly how to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and even deliver you. Because he hates your suffering, he longs to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and even deliver you. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief – exactly the kind of person who can sympathize with you in your suffering.
Suffering will not always carry the day. Someday soon, Jesus will return – the victor, the conqueror, the death-destroyer. He will crush Satan underneath his foot. He will destroy all sin and sorrow and suffering. He will pour out his furious rage on Satan and cast him into the Lake of Fire. And he will make all things new.
Don’t for one second believe the lie that Jesus like your suffering. He hates it, and he wants to do something about. Let him help you now, and look forward to the day when he will destroy suffering forever.