Q. Do you think God sometimes wants His children to suffer? Does Love really want the object of Its love to suffer? A pastor I know believes that Jesus was “made perfect” through suffering, and so how much more do we need to be perfected by the same means. I mentioned to him that Jesus was perfect from his birth, God in the flesh from the get-go, and that suffering didn’t “improve” him, since if He were flawed at all, He wouldn’t have qualified as the savior. I told him that the verse he’s referring to is speaking of how Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for sin after suffering the cross. But he insists that God teaches us lessons by inflicting suffering. I told him that God gave us His Word to perfect us and His Spirit to guide us. Am I correct?
A. Hebrews 2:10 says,
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
The word perfect means to carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end. Jesus didn’t need to be made perfect, He is perfect. But to be complete (perfect) the act of saving us had to include suffering. Someone had to be punished for our sins.
The Lord’s last word before dying is translated “it is finished” (John 19:30). It’s one word in the Greek language, and it’s a form of the word translated perfect in Hebrews 2:10. His suffering had made our salvation perfect.
But there’s a logical issue here as well. Isaiah 53:4-5 says,
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
The words translated pain and suffering in verse 4 and healed in verse 5 all describe physical conditions. Why would God have made His son suffer all these things so we could be healed from our pain and suffering, and then turn around and afflict us with pain and suffering?
James 5:15 says if we ask for healing we’ll receive it. He said the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well. Why would the Lord bring illness upon us to teach us a lesson when He promised to heal us if we ask in faith?
Making us believe that God, who loved us enough to die for us while we still hated Him, would then turn around and cause us to suffer after we came to love Him is one of Satan’s most effective strategies for hiding the fact that it was he who brought pain and suffering into the creation, not God.