The ascetic practices enjoined upon us during this Lenten season can suggest that God takes pleasure in the discomfort and deprivation we experience thereby. Conversely, it could be thought that God resents our experiencing pleasure and freedom from suffering. This may, in turn, have us hesitant to pray for relief from suffering unless it is simply unbearable. Today’s psalm suggests otherwise: When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him. From all his distress—not from some or from the more serious distress. God is keenly aware of all our sufferings—the great and the small. And because God is love, he seeks to ultimately free us from all suffering since he neither desires nor takes pleasure in our suffering and pain. Any pleasure that God derives from our suffering is the love we bear him, despite the suffering. Therefore, let us not hesitate to call out to God in the midst of all our suffering—great and small. And let us trust that God will free us from all unnecessary suffering, and compassionately and lovingly support us through that suffering that is unavoidable for those who follow in the footsteps of his beloved Son.