Numb to Good News

A Poem and Reflection on Feeling Nothing

And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them.
Genesis 45:26b


Your boy lived here.

Running around the house

Arguing back and forth with his brothers

Wearing that polychrome tunic you made just for him.

This boy dreamed.


You wake to word that your boy is gone.

Running around the house

Searching among his brothers

Dreaming, surely you must be dreaming

No. Your boy. Your boy.

Your boy is dead.


His brothers arrive with that polychrome tunic.

No, not polychrome.

Crimson. Only crimson.

One color and only one smell.

Your boy’s blood.


Years and years pass.

Eleven other sons refuse time its rest.

Running around the house.

Arguing back and forth with one another.

No boys look you in your eye.


The earth dry as your soul.

Cracked dirt and empty fields,

the other side of the mirror

to your bitter scars and stripped faith.

You send your boys to Egypt,

the enemy will feed you now.


Miles away a caravan treks the wasteland

The sounds do not fade

The procession pivots on the path to your home.

Your sons ride wagons not mules.

Your sons carry treasure not seed.

Your sons bring news you do not believe.



Joseph is still alive

He is ruler over all the land of Egypt.

No memories invade your mind.

No relief penetrates your soul.

You feel nothing.

You believe nothing.


Your boy is dead.




In Genesis 45, Jacob receives the greatest news he could imagine. His son is alive!

Notice what the text says. “His heart was numb, for he did not believe them.”

It does not say that Jacob refused to believe because he was numb.

Jacob was numb because he did not believe.


This happens to us all the time. Many of us receive the greatest news one could imagine. The Son is alive!

Like Joseph, Jesus’ brothers sold him and left him for dead.

Unlike Joseph, Jesus of Nazareth actually died. But the grave that held him for three days is empty. And we hear this news the same way Jacob did.


We are not moved. We have heard it before. We do not see it change anything.

Nothing. We feel nothing.


We get it backwards. We do not feel anything and we make that the reason for why we do not believe. In our minds, our numbness is the ground for our unbelief.

But Jacob shows us otherwise. We do not believe. We reject the good news, and in turn, we become numb. In reality, our unbelief is the ground for our numbness.

Do you feel numb? Do you lack passion? Are you missing excitement and conviction?

Quit trying to change how you feel. Change how you believe.

The Son is alive.


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