When I Am Not Moved (a Poem)

by Dave

We had an excellent opportunity to go to a city called Bamenda last week and have a short retreat. We had an American pastor, and for the first time in almost 2 years, we experienced corporate worship in English. And an amazing thing happened. I felt nothing! I knew that this should have been a great relief and joy, both emotions I saw on the faces of those other missionaries around me. But I just felt cold and unmoved. I spent the week reflecting on what to do, and did find myself worshipping in the end. And I wanted to write out some of my thoughts and realized that as I constructed my phrases, they rhymed. So, here is the first poem I have written since I had to write them in high school. I pray that it encourages you.

The lights are dimmed with hands raised in the air,
and I must have sinned, ’cause I just don’t care.
I have been moved to tears in other times,
while we were singing these exact same lines.
Torn between distraction and feeling bored,
the commandment remains: “Worship the Lord.”
What should I do when my heart is not moved?
Sing anyway.
My Bible rotation has brought me back,
not to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John or Acts.
No, it’s Numbers that I should be reading,
when it’s narrative I feel I’m needing.
Even with drooping eyes, and head and hands,
I’m reminded again of God’s commands,
What do I do when I don’t want to read?
Read anyway.
And sometimes I feel so far from our God,
when I want to pray, but I start to nod.
When vigilant watch I should be keeping,
like the disciples, I find I’m sleeping.
But I don’t want to make the same mistake,
Jesus told them they should have stayed awake.
What do I do when I just cannot pray?
Pray anyway.
I am not content to stay where I am,
living as in a barren desert land.
Nor is God content in me being me.
It’s new-creation change he wants to see.
And why not begin with the Lord’s commands,
to read and worship while raising my hands?
I find when the singing and prayers are done,

The change I crave has already begun.

Author: David M. Hare

Dave is a husband, father of four Africans, and is currently helping the Kwakum people do Oral Bible Storying and Bible translation in Cameroon, Africa.