I have had similar discussions with various people. Indeed, the question "How could a loving god allow children to suffer so?" is a familiar refrain. My answer is usually briefer than Mr. Porretto's, and suffers by comparison. Go and read the whole thing, as it is worth it to anyone who contemplates the Great Questions of the Universe. But a quote may get your juices flowing:
The heart of the thing is the nature of free will under the veil of Time. We are temporal creatures. Alone among the living species, we experience the passage of time, in which we sequence the events of our lives and concoct theories about why this happened instead of that. Because our wills are free, we are capable of taking many paths forward from any point in time and circumstance. The scope of our decision making is limited only by our nature.He goes on to point out that if you think about God, as opposed to relating to him, you are not thinking big enough. The fact of God's omniscience and our free will can only be understood by acknowledging that God stand outside of time and space. Thus God must know how we will use the great gift he has given us, and yet it is up to us to choose. We alone can not alleviate all the evil in the world, but wouldn't it be great if more of us worked harder at it? Choose wisely,
Our nature is defined by the laws of the universe that gave rise to us. God decreed those laws and made them self-enforcing. But they don't constrain our wills. We are free to choose what ends we will pursue: pleasure or pain; profit or loss; stasis or dynamism; good or evil. Freedom of the will is God's original gift to Mankind: the one that distinguishes us from all the lower orders...and perhaps from some of the higher ones, as well.
And may God bless and keep you, Francis Porretto.