The Noble Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy upon) stated:
If the person faces the calamities (that befall him) with patience without seeking the reward (for being patient), it becomes an expiation for his sins. If he is patient along with seeking the reward (for being patient), then it becomes a reward along with it being an expiation of the sins. The meaning of seeking the reward is that the person believes within himself that he will be rewarded for this patience, therefore having a good thought about Allah. So Allah gives him (the good) which he thought about Him.
Source: At-Ta’leeq alaa Saheeh Muslim pg. 342
Translated by Abu Yusuf Khaleefah
24th of Rabee’ ath-Thaani, 1436 H (02-14-2015)
Masjid Nur Allah, Queens, NYC