Divine Justice or the Problem of Evil
Sa'di of Shiraz says "Sa'di has spent all his life with bitterness that now you hear his name with sweetness."
The educational aspect of suffering can be seen in Rumi, the great Sufi philosopher and poet of 13th Century, where he makes the point clear with this analogy: "They threw a grain on the earth; then came out branches. Next they crushed it in the mill; it became more expensive and useful in bread form. Next the bread was grounded under the teeth and after digestion became mind, spirit and useful thought. Again when the mind was bewildered with love, what a surprise this cultivation had been!"
Another universal point that we should mention here is that opposites produce opposites.
Existence and non-existence, life and death, permanence and non-permanence, youth and oldness are linked with each other. This dialectic is the natural law of this world. Sa'di said: "Treasure and snake and flower and thorn and sorrow and happiness come together."
Rumi can clarify the point again where he says: "Hardship can bring the treasure, and happiness lies in hardship. The core becomes fresh and pure when the skin is scratched away. Oh brother! Dark and cold places, struggling with sorrow and fighting against laziness and pain, is the fountain of life and intoxication; since all this greatness lies in lowness."'
So, if we want to attain true happiness, we have to go through all the difficult stages. Great men, in fact, suffered from torture, poverty, imprisonment, deprivation and even death, and this is why they became great. We will end this section with a sentence by Mulla Sadra: "If there was no opposition (contradiction) in existence, the continuance of benefit from the Merciful God would not have been possible."
The Problem of Death
Another important subject which creeps in when we think of our existence and God's justice is death.
If God is just how can death destruct our evolved and purified selves after the long and laborious school of our lives?
The answer is that it does not. The reasons are quite a few. First of all, God has told us through all of his prophets, that death is not the end of the story of our lives. Since I have assumed that you believe in God, this evidence is quite substantial. (You are aware that the problem of evil or suffering arises after assuming or knowing the existence of God)
There are many ways which we can prove our life after death. Apart from experiential proofs such as telepathy, prescience, dreams and contact with the dead, there are many rational ones; such as this one which argues on the basis of desires and satisfactions.