"Life is suffering." -- Buddha
"... My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by him; for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts." -- Hebrews 12:5,6
IN BUDDHISM, the First Noble Truth is that the suffering at birth, old age, sickness or death is unavoidable. For centuries, atheists and agnostics have questioned those who believe in an all-powerful, all-good God, "If God is so good and powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?"
Since age 18, without really understanding why, i have loved Kahlil Gibran's A Tear and A Smile. It was only later that the reasons became clearer, especially after reading C.S. Lewis' Problem of Pain (see lighter version by Scott Denham), and listening to Dan Schutte's song, Holy Darkness.
Now, like most people, i do not welcome pain. i can go to great lengths just to avoid pain. But when pain is unavoidable, among other things, i sometimes try to console myself with this borrowed thought: "People with leprosy live a virtually pain-free existence. Yet in fact, the absence of pain is their greatest enemy. Again and again, they would wound and impale themselves. Yet they don't feel a thing. As a result, their flesh would go bad and start to rot."
(See also The Problem of Pain II.)