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.

5 thoughts on “When I Am Not Moved (a Poem)

  1. Dear Dave and Stacy, I think of you and your precious children often and you are ever in my prayers. I keep up with you through the blog and I make sure to keep your names and mission before our church. I cannot imagine the mammoth task you have set before you, but know our Lord is mighty, powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, and able to do more than we imagine. It is my prayer that you and your family are soon in your home and that as you continue your work in Cameroon that God would open more doors and help you to spread the gospel by placing more folks in your path who are more fluent in the language to assist you. Your poem was very touching and I, too, have set in worship service before feeling very flat. But, like the poem says – sing anyway, praise anyway, pray anyway and before you know it the Holy Spirit has got a hold on you and you begin to worship genuinely from your heart. I ask that you would pray for me as I am looking at a second shoulder replacement in the near future. I had my right one replaced in June 2013 and now have to have the left one replaced due to severe arthritis. I have wanted to have this done for months, but each time it did not happen due to different circumstances. I am trusting God that this time it is in His time and I am praying to that end. May God bless you and keep you. Kay Mathias, Fulton, KY, First Baptist Church

  2. Thank you for your transparency, David. It is so easy to worship with joy and praise when you feel it, but in some ways, more powerful when you recognize the Holiness and Greatness of God when you don't. He is All in All, and praising Him in spite of ourselves shows more of Him and less of us. Your poem brought me to tears, and also to remembrance of my own desert times and God's blessing in spite of me. Love, Mom

  3. Thanks for sharing this Dave. I felt encouraged! I shared it on FB to encourage others, and to go back to it and remind myself to continue on in the Christian walk when I don't feel anything. Faith takes steps in the right directiona and God brings feelings later. Melody Nowak, Grace Evangelical free church, Afton, WI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *