Trials and tribulations are situations God puts us in so that we can learn, be purified in our faith, and grow into the image of Christ.
Trials and tribulations can be for correction, but they are never punishment.
Punishment is for the purpose of correction, but that is not trials and tribulaions.
But when God punishes, it is not just a "payment in kind" for wrong doing, or an inducement of pain for the purpose of forcing a change of mind.
The prodigal was corrected in the trial and tribulation that came upon him due to his waywardness, but he was not punished. His change of heart, gained in tribulation, purified his faith and his father rejoiced to receive him home and whole.
But trials and tribulations are not always for correction. Paul spoke of saints who sufferred the loss of life and property, refusing deliverance in order to "obtain a better resurrection". Jesus said if anyone suffers for righteousness sake the the Spirit and glory of God will abide upon them. Trials and tribulation can be for learning how to operate in the Spirit as well, "Solid food is for those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to kno the difference between good and evil"
Trials and tribulations can come in many forms, from ilness to persecutions to daily difficulties in business and family,.
Trials and tribulations help us to get our senses exercised. Teach us dependence upon God. Teach us the futility of our own ways. Prepare us in maturity to carry heavier weapons and greater stewardships.
Trials and tribulations often intercept the need for punishment, by training us in righteousness.
"Those who refuse to be tried are bound to be punished"
! Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.