A friend found this great explanation on the meaning of suffering - I Scream Therefore I Am. This excerpt in particular shows why suffering is so crucial to understand our desire for God:
We rage and weep because of suffering because we know deep down that we are destined for something better. Our existential wail in the face of suffering is so deep because we know that we were made for infinite happiness. Our fury at the irrational evil of suffering is because we know deep down that there must be a rational meaning and a reasonable answer. The pain and suffering is our deepest awareness of our need--yea our demand--for joy.