For years I have wrestled with cluster migraine headaches. For me, it is the most intense pain I know. This razor sharp pain pounds roughly an inch inside my left temple and I have had headaches that have lasted for as long as three days. I am very familiar with the extreme degree of this pain. Those who share my experience with cluster migraines know you do not forget that kind of pain. And to suffer for any duration of time causes you to know the precise location where the hurt comes from.
In life we can pretty easily zoom in on the specific pains we’ve experienced. We might ask "How could God allow us to suffer so? Why would a good God permit pain to begin with?". Others may question God’s power and see him as unable to take away the pain. For all the perspectives in philosophy and religion it is the cross of Christ that makes the most sense in explaining why an almighty God would allow pain.
If we accept that Christ is who he said he was, then he is God’s only son. History accounts for his death on a cross. And it is because of the cross that we have in Christ, a risen savior who understands our humanity and pain. This is the one thing that is uniquely Christian and separates Christ from all other religious leaders. His claim was not merely that he was one "way to God", but that he is God himself, and He experienced our pain first hand. He absolutely understands it.
That is what make the cross so important, and so personal. Christ not only understands our pain, but He willingly bore our sins on the cross. I sometimes think this may be the exact reason why God allowed suffering in the world. Since everyone can identify with pain, most have even experienced intense pain on some level, so we can appreciate that Christ willingly chose to suffer on our behalf on the cross. It was his expression of his love for us. And that God loved us enough to allow His son to experience being tortured (can you imagine) and die for us so that we would know the depth of his love for us. And then that He redeemed us all through Christ’s miraculous resurrection and ascension into glory. This is the story of the cross, and of Christ, and a very personal God who understands pain.