Probably everyone at some point in time has asked some variation of the question, "Why does God allow pain?" And even if we accept that He allows some pain, we still want to know how He could allow that One pain that is so awful we don't even want to think about it. So, let's tackle these two questions in order. First of all, why pain?
What is the opposite of pain? Could it be comfort, ease, peace? What would they be without pain? If there was no pain, would we know comfort? Or would we just be? A rock knows no pain, nor joy. The human existence is one of comparisons, pain and peace, suffering and laughter. We can't really experience one end of the spectrum without experiencing the other. In fact, I should welcome pain and suffering because that means that I can experience that much joy and elation. Asking why God allows pain is like asking why God allows blue. He gives us the full spectrum of color to witness with our eyes and he gives us the full spectrum of feeling to experience with our heart. I wouldn't want a world without pain, because it would be without the other end of the spectrum too.
So maybe we can tolerate some pain, but still there are evils in this world that are beyond comprehension. Some people say, "I can't believe in a God who would allow..." and then they fill in the blank with some awful story in the news about a school shooting or young women kidnapped by al Shabaab. Surely this pain does not need to exist for us to experience the joy at the other end of the spectrum.
Let's look at the range of painful events. Imagine a line from 1 to 100. At 100 are the worst possible things that ever happen in the world today, things like rape, kidnapping, and torture. At the other end of the spectrum, at level 1, are the slightest bad things, like someone cutting me off on the freeway. What if God pushed a button or flicked a switch and suddenly, level 100 evils were no longer allowed. The most awful thing that could happen would be level 99. Eventually, we would forget about level 100 evils, we would forget about those atrocities and our gratefulness for their demise, and be totally focused on level 99. Now imagine that God does it again and removes 99, so that only level 98 evils are allowed in the world. Over time, the same thing would happen again. That could continue again and again until you are at level 23. In a world where the very worst thing that could ever happen would be level 23, that horror would still be the most horrid, dreadful thing you could ever imagine. You would still wonder how God could allow such a thing to happen. It is all relative to your experience.
I don't know where we are on the eternal spectrum of evil, but I know that it could be worse. I also know that God has put me on this planet to reduce pain and suffering, to be a blessing to more people. So, I accept pain, and rejoice in the comfort and peace that I experience in this world while trying to be an instrument of joy for others.