Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful
servants. (Psalm 116:14-16)
Suffering is profoundly important to God. The suffering of Jesus Christ on the Cross was the means whereby God was most glorified, and the cause of the salvation of those who believe. That suffering saves people from eternity in Hell.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting
away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light
and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far
outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on
what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is
eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
God cares about our suffering, but also our glorification. Our lives here as mortals last decades, maybe a century plus a few more for a few. Eternity is very long. Suffering on this side versus the benefit of an eternity in Heaven is a balance that the Lord takes into consideration. What if our suffering was just shy of what it takes to turn us around from heading in the wrong direction?
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that
suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and
character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s
love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who
has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
God is concerned with our pain, but especially with our character and our hope. The devils in this world try to destroy our hope. One tactic of the devil is to convince people that their suffering is proof that they are evil, God is punishing them and they have no chance of getting to heaven. To counter this lie (and for other reasons), God permitted Satan to inflict horrible suffering upon Job, the most righteous man alive (excepting Jesus). Job's ten children were killed, he lost all his possessions, his reputation, and his health. His friends accused him of being evil and deserving it. Then God spoke to Him and told his accusing friends there that Job spoke correctly and they did not.
Job's suffering is consolation to all suffering people since then that God still loves and cares for you even if you are suffering.
Job prayed that his words, describing his experience, be written down, including his belief that if he died, God would raise him from the dead.
23 “Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
25 I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes — I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:23-27)
Job lived shortly before the first books in the Bible were written. I believe that Job's prayer created the Bible, a book that has brought solace to billions. And if you look closely, Job delivered nine prophecies that would be fulfilled by Jesus, plotting out the saviors whole life for birth to death to resurrection - given in Chronological order. Job also delivered scores of other prophecies about the future. Suffering is a primary means that God uses to send his messages to us. If someone suffers at God's hands and yet continues to believe in him, praise him, and worship him despite their suffering, their message carries weight. Satan blamed Job of being selfish, saying that he only worshiped God because of all the good that God had done for him. Faith in the midst of suffering proves the devil is wrong.
Many other people in the Bible suffered, and their stories of faith are encouragement to people in similar situations. Joseph was sold into slavery, then falsely accused of adultery and thrown in prison, but he not only overcame all that, he forgave his brothers for betraying him. The Apostle Paul was shipwrecked, beaten and left for dead, imprisoned, nearly starved, and eventually was executed, but his example also inspires people, and by his enduring of suffering he spread the truth to a continent.
One last story - a personal one. I met a woman suffering from rheumatoid arthritis named Janet many years ago. She had attended our church but now was bedridden. After visiting her, praying for her and reading her scripture, I left. Then I wept harder than I had in my whole life. I had never seen someone in such pain, and she was a fellow Christian. A half hour later, my tears turned to joy - the most powerful experience of joy I have had in my whole life - and it stayed with me for a whole week.
At Janet's funeral six months later, I spoke with some of her other friends. One of them said something I will never forget: "When you were with Janet, it was like the Holy Spirit was pouring out of her."
That dying woman, a woman of faith who never stopped believing in God, confined to her bed and dying at around the age of fifty (or a little less), did not live a wasted life. I had suffered from depression for over ten years. One visit with Janet delivered me from depression and thirty years later, it still has not returned.
God uses faithful, broken people as vessels to give his Holy Spirit to hurting people like me. In fact, Saint Stephen was stoned to death right in front of Saul, who became the Apostle Paul. I believe that the Holy Spirit flowed out from Stephen and into Paul, began its work I him, and finally converted him.
Yes, God cares about suffering very much. He accomplishes wonders through it.