For me the image of God as Father is a powerful one. He is my Spouse and Friend and Guide. I endured a terrible trial that left me wondering why God—my Father—had not protected me from it as he has protected me from so much in the past. God did not desire this suffering but He allowed it...I didn't understand.
But God IS a Father—a parent. He doesn't necessarily protect us from all suffering (like Mary did not try to stop Jesus from carrying the Cross) but he is there "carrying us all along our journey" (Deut 1:31) and suffering with us. What parent doesn't suffer double watching their child suffer?
Why didn't God shield me from this evil? I don't know, but I do know He—my Father—was with me throughout it, enabling me to come away stronger and using it as a source of grace for others.