Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Big Why

It was while reading Phillip Yancey’s Where is God When it Hurts?, that my daughter (age 5) quickly said “right here” when asked the difficult question as posed by the title.  Now, Phillip Yancey has another book, The Question That Never Goes Away,  This last book, provides first hand reporting of the mega-disasters of our time as well as his own confrontation with pain and mortality.  

The faithful answers to suffering and evil continue to challenge and paradoxically propel faith into action.  We are called not just to tell the stories, but to be present with those who suffer.  For Christians, we are also called to work for justice and peace.  We believe that God’s love will overcome evil and suffering.  

After a lifetime of experience that includes more than usual amount of suffering. my answer, like my daughters, is still “right here”.  It is not a naive response.  Like Yancey’s recent report, it is a response tested in the reality of a broken world.   It is a question that will continue to test all of us.  May we continue to see the presence of God in our lives and be that presence to those who suffer.  



Yancey, P. (1977). Where is God When It Hurts? Zondervan Publishing
Yancey, P. (2014). The Question That Never Goes Away. Zondervan.
Hage, M. L. (2011). Mega-disasters. Retrieved from
Hage, M. L. (2012). God’s Grace. Retrieved from

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Another Healing Place

Omaha Beach Cemetary

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

Yesterday, the 6th of June, 2014, we were reminded of the great sacrifice 70 years ago on the beaches of Normandy.  What was amazing to me was the focus on reconciliation and the pursuit of peace.

When I first visited Omaha cemetery in 1962, I was 21 and was moved by and identified with the young men who gave their lives on that beach.   Last year, I began to hear a larger dimension of the pursuit of peace when I visited the Memorial de Caen - Centre for History and Peace.  The goal was not just winning the war, but it was about winning the peace.  That goal continues to be a challenge in the world.

Today, there was another lesson from this place when we saw previous and current adversaries greeting each other on the beaches of Normandy.  We learned again that peacemaking is not just a history but a struggle that continues.  Let us all pray and work for peace.



Hage, M. L. (2011). Peace from above. Retrieved from

Hage, M. L. (2013). Healing Spaces. Retrieved from

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Healing Purpose

Is there no balm in Gilead?  Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?
Jeremiah 8:22 (NIV)

Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.
Luke 17:33 (NIV)

It seems to be a recurring theme in the news…reports of “lostness”, alienation, and uncertainty about the purpose and meaning in our lives.  Even the idea of the “telos” of healing is at risk in a post-theological age.  There is a missing dimension in our lives that is not filled by things or with technology.  

What is central to the “lostness” is the aloneness of individualism and the mythology of the a zero sum culture…I win/you lose, I succeed/you fail, mine/not yours, etc.  What if we believed that when we lose our life, we really gain it!

In the memoir, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics, we hear the story of competition but also see a reality of how losing oneself is redeeming.  This is a personal story of Joe Rantz but also a story of the gentle mentoring spirit of George Pocock, the designer and builder of the boat.  Here is one of the many lessons of George Pocock:

Perhaps the seeds of redemption lay not just in perseverance, hard work, and rugged individualism. Perhaps they lay in something more fundamental— the simple notion of everyone pitching in and pulling together.

The big question is what is that larger goal, that “telos”?  Do we find it in our own strivings?   For me, the healing purpose or “telos” is no easy prescription but a call to our vocation as healing agents. We have been called to bring a wholeness to a fractured world that we are part of.  We need that other “outside voice” that gently reminds us and calls us again and again to a “telos” beyond our quick solutions and simple prescriptions.  The paradox is that we find that “telos” for our lives in the witness of the “others” in our lives.  It is in our suffering together that we find healing and for Christians, it is the example of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  



Brown, D. J. (2013). The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (First Edition ed.). Viking Adult.

Brown, Daniel James (2013-06-04). The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (p. 123). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.. 

Hage, M.L. (2010). The “Telos” for Christian Healing Agents. Retrieved from

Hage, M. L. (2013). Resistance/Resilience. Retrieved from