God of Compassion

I don’t know why we are born or what happens when we die, I don’t know why depression exists or why unfettered greed was allowed to take away the livelihoods of millions during the Great Depression. I do know that we have a choice: believe in a God who is ultimately powerful, or ultimately loving. Anyone who has loved a person with depression knows that we can’t have both—a God who loved us and controlled everything wouldn’t let depression exist. Or childhood cancers, or earthquakes, or hangnails. Definitely not mosquitos. God is either our dear partner in our struggles or the reason for those struggles.…


For me, God—whom I prefer to call Goddess, or Luna, or Love, just to disrupt the male-God dominance we have faced for eight thousand years—isn’t a creature or a supernatural person. God isn’t Mr. Rogers or Santa Claus in the sky (but if God did have to be a man, Mr. Rogers would be a great choice). God is a force, a push to do what is loving. God is the voice that urges us to forgive. God is a piece of every living creature, the best piece, the part that connects us. The part that makes us brave enough to embrace each other. God is always cheering on anyone struggling, anyone who feels hopeless. God is my ancestors whispering, “Hang in there. You are stronger than you know. It only gets better up ahead,” in my ear when I think the depression will never end. …

It is unlikely that we will have any definite answers about the nature of God in this lifetime. As my Grandma Wilma always said, I sure have a lot of questions for God. Maybe we won’t even get the answers we want after we die. But I choose to believe in the God who makes me kinder. Because no one knows for sure who or what God is, so why choose a bully keeping accounts of every sin? I choose the God of compassion, who sits beside me when I weep and pushes me to comfort the troubled.

an excerpt from Stubborn Grace: Faith, Mental Illness, and Demanding a Blessing

About the Author

Kate Landis

Rev. Kate Landis currently serves as chaplain at Swedish Hospital in Edmonds, Washington. She has previously served as minister at Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church, as a youth advisor, and GA chaplain. She won the Skinner Sermon Award, presented annually to the preacher of the sermon best...

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