How should we, as Christians, think about suffering?

A common and difficult challenge often given to Christians is that a loving God allows suffering. However, I think if we examine the ideas and assumptions behind this challenge, we will see that it is not rooted in a Biblical view of the world. In a sense it is trying to judge Christianity by a standard that does not apply.

The secular culture views suffering far different than it is addressed in the Bible. So then how should we think about suffering as followers of Christ?