Consider every hardship/challenge as a test, even if it’s a punishment, we are tested on how we act and react to hardship. Viewing it as a test may bring encouragement, viewing it as a punishment may bring anxiety.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Overcome anxiety with patience, for anxiety erases [Allah’s] reward and augments the catastrophe.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 2527]
Nevertheless, we must always strive to act patiently and repent our sins and faults. The Prophet (S) said, ‘Repentance erases whatever precedes it.’[Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, v. 12, p. 129, no. 13706] and Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘If you commit a misdeed, hasten to erase it with repentance.’[Ibid. v. 77, p. 208, no. 1].
Hardships are blessings. Either they remind us of our sins, when we still have time to seek forgiveness, or they erase our bad deeds. Either way they should bring about hope. Hope of the mercy and forbearance of Allāh (’aza wa jal). Hope that we have time to change our misdeeds, and hope that we will rise from our tests instead of failing them.
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Hope in Allah with such hope that it will not embolden you to disobey Him, and fear Allah with such fear that it will not cause you to despair of His mercy.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 70, p. 384, no. 39]