Suffering can plague entire segments of a population or entire nations. As someone born into middle-class America, I essentially won the geographical lottery compared to someone born in an inner-city slum or in a third-world country. Millions of people around the globe go hungry and suffer diseases that we no longer have to bother about. Why the disparity in fortune? Some thinkers have suggested that virtues such as compassion would not be possible without the presence of suffering. But if God is love, then such virtues existed perfectly in Him before anyone existed on earth to suffer. Furthermore, the explanation feels like God would be using people as object lessons. Maybe He is, but I find the explanation rather cold. Whatever the reason for the disparity, if we as the church are to act as Christ's body, then we need to be about meeting the needs of the "least of these." Unfortunately, I don't think we focus nearly enough on doing so.
As to the second question, consider James 5:13-16: "Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one if you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Some writers have suggested that James is concerned with spiritual healing in this passage. Perhaps some of you who possess some hermeneutical acumen could support or refute that claim for us. But as I understand the passage, although James does address spiritual healing, he also speaks of physical healing. We spend a lot of our time in prayer (as a church body and as individuals) asking God to heal the deathly sick or severely injured, but how often are they made well? Sure, we have to balance James' passage with the fact that everyone eventually dies, but I'm sure we could all compile rather lengthy lists of children or young fathers or mothers we've fervently prayed to be healed only for them to die. Are we misunderstanding scripture?