It seems to be widely accepted in the philosophy of religion community that supposing God's merely compensating a person for evils suffered will not make for a good theodicy. Rather, the evils must be defeated in a way that goes over and beyond compensation, that draws a defeating good out of the evil. I think that in many cases this conviction might well be mistaken. Compensation may well be good enough.
Start with this story:
You are a financially well-off Olympic archer. You are about to take your last shot at the Olympics, indeed at the last Olympics you will ever compete at (you have promised your spouse to hang up your bow after these Olympics) and whether you get a gold medal depends on this shot. Getting a gold medal means a lot to you. At the same time, you see in the stands a vicious dog attacking me. You could turn your bow on the dog, and painlessly kill it at this range (nor would it be wrong to do so; the dog will be put down anyway after the vicious attack). There is no other way for the attack to be stopped. But then you would lose your last chance for a gold medal: the dog is not the official target. You also know that what kind of a dog it is and how terrified of dogs I am, so that you know that if that were the whole story, the sufferings that I would endure through being bitten are so great that your gold medal wouldn't be worth it: you would have a duty to shoot the dog. But you also know me well enough to know for sure that I would survive the attack without permanent damage, and that you have a sum of money that you could give me such that both by my own lights and objectively I'd be much better off bitten and compensated than neither bitten nor compensated. You resolve to compensate me financially, take your shot at the target, win your gold medal, write me a large check, and we are both much better off for this.This is a clear case of compensation for evil rather than defeat of evil. At the same time, your failure to stop the attack is justified. I chose this case so that my own biases would go against the justification. I am in fact terrified of dogs. Being bitten again would be a truly horrific experience. Nonetheless, if you gave me a sum of money sufficient to pay off the rest of our mortgage and there was no permanent damage, I think it would be well-worth being bitten. (I don't think I would go for it for half of the mortgage!)
Notice what compensation does here. The good you achieve by allowing me to be bitten—the gold medal—is insufficient to justify your permitting me to be bitten. (If this isn't true, we can tweak the case so it is.) But when you add your resolve to compensate me, and your knowledge that the compensation would be sufficient both objectively and by my own lights, you come to be justified.
An important feature of this story is that the good you achieve—the gold medal—is one to which my sufferings are not a means, and indeed you do not intend my sufferings either as an end or as a means. (Here one remembers Double Effect, of course.) But there is an end that you are pursuing, and your pursuit of this end precludes your preventing the evil.
There are many real-world cases that might well have this structure. Consider Rowe's fawn dying painfully in a forest fire. God could miraculously prevent this, but doesn't, because he wants the laws of nature to have as few exceptions as possible. Now, it's good, I suppose, that the laws of nature have as few exceptions as possible. But this good does not seem to be sufficiently great to justify several days of the fawn suffering. However, if God resolves to compensate the fawn in an afterlife, to a degree such that both objectively and by the fawn's lights (to the extent that the fawn is capable of making the relevant judgments) the fawn will be much better off for having both the suffering and the compensation, then we will have the structure of the archery-dogbite case.
I do not know that the compensation story will work for every case. One worry is that if you foreknew that the dog would bite and were responsible for the dog's presence in the stands in the light of this foresight, then the justification in the compensation story is less clear, even if you don't intend the dog's biting. So there will be relevant questions about determinism, Molinism and the like in the theological cases.
Here's another interesting thing, by the way, about the fawn case. The compensation would not have to come in an afterlife. Suppose:
You are a super-rich archer. You know that sometimes dogs show up and bite people in one area of the stadium. So ahead of time you write sufficiently large checks to all these people such that both objectively and by their lights they would be much better off for having the check and the dogbite than for having neither. And then when it's time to compete, you don't even need to think about the dogs.This seems quite justifiable as well. So if God sufficiently compensates all deer that are in danger of forest fires ahead of time, all is well, too.
Note, though, that in general pre-compensation works less well for human sufferers than for non-human sufferers. For humans see their lives as a narrative, and the narrative structure and order of events matters a lot as a result. So in the case of a human it is particularly tragic if existence ends in a particularly bad way, no matter how good the earlier parts were. So compensation for evils that happen around the time of death still likely requires an afterlife in the case of humans. (And even in the case of non-human animals, it may be better for God to compensate in an afterlife, since it would require fewer miracles in this world.)