These words are part of a collection of writings from the final months of our ten-year-long journey of delayed fertility. In them, I’m pulling back the privacy-curtain and taking you inside the pages of my prayer journals to give insight to those who have not experienced infertility, and hope to those who are neck-deep in the lonely-midst of it.
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“We are taught, in the whole of our conduct, to act up to our own convictions, and, whether we have to do with God or men, to see that we never go contrary to our own knowledge. … Let us, therefore, take care that conscience is rightly informed, and then that it be faithfully and constantly obeyed.”
Matthew Henry on James 4:17
I was no stranger to lazy mornings back in those waiting days. They were the mornings that came with the kind of self-employed luxuries that found me sleeping in until after 8:00 am daily (and later on the weekends). We were the couple that strolled onto the beach with bed-head masked with trucker hats and coffee-to-go no earlier than 11 am as our friends with little ones were beginning to gather their toys and towels and sun-kissed babes. By the time we arrived, they were done for the morning, bound for showers, lunch, and naps.
After resetting my waiting-resolve and recounting the tangible measure of God’s lavish love that April morning four years ago, I waded out a little bit deeper into the waiting pool and began to study. I looked up verses that contained the word “wait,” and I made a note of them on my prayer journal pages.
Psalm 25:3 – Oh LORD, I’m waiting on You in faith … let me not be ashamed.
As I read through the Psalms, I began to see a rhythm of grace through a pattern of waiting-words. I wait for You (Psalm 25:3). I wait for You (Psalm 25:21). And when I paused in singing the melody, He picked up the harmony. Wait on Me! (Psalm 27:14) Again, a second time in that same verse – Wait on Me! And again, in Psalm 37:34.
I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry (Psalm 40:1).
My soul, wait patiently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him (Psalm 62:5).
And then I came to Psalm 130.
(9:40am) Saturday – 4/18/15, part two
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His Word do I hope. My soul waits for the LORD more than those who watch for the morning – yes, more than those who watch for the morning (Psalm 130:5-6).
It was in those words that I settled in and began to dig. After looking up each Hebrew word on Blue Letter Bible, I re-wrote the verses using the language from the original definitions (you can find an in-depth tutorial on how to study Scripture this way in my book, Mercy Like Morning):
I wait and expect Yahweh and fix my hope on Him. My breath and my soul wait for and expect Him, and in His Word, promise, and precept, I remain and expect and hope and wait.
I stopped in my tracks at the beginning of Psalm 130:6. Where the NKJV reads, “my soul waits for the LORD,” the original language reads “my soul, Adonay.” There is no mention of waiting in verse six at all. That Hebrew word, Adonay? It’s a name of God that is only used by the Jews in an overscrupulous reverence for Him where He is submissively and reverently addressed. And I realized: when we approach God submissively and reverently? It’s natural to pause and wait in His presence.
Adonay. Wait for the LORD. More than they that watch for the end of the night and look for the morning that they know will come. God, help me to wait for You like that – to watch for You like that. Every day. In clear expectation. Of course, the morning will come – my soul waits for You more than that.
And then I wrote some knee-jerk reaction words in response to my morning encounter with God. Words that I only realize now, four years later, were Spirit-inspired. I almost want to sing it; the words wash over me in obedience and relief and worship.
If you look into the definition of the Hebrew word, shamar, used for the phrase “more than they that watch,” you will find that they very first translation that’s listed describes keeping, watching, and guarding a garden. It’s also the same Hebrew word that’s used in Genesis 2 when God took Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
Now, before I get to the tending, I have to talk about the taking. There is an intimate word picture tucked away inside that moment that God took Adam and put him in that garden. That taken-word means “to take with the hand, to stick together, to adhere.” And the word that’s used to describe God putting him in the garden? It means “to cause to rest, make quiet, to lay or set down.”
It’s as if God was telling Adam: “You and Me? We’re in this together. Hand-in-hand. Stuck like glue. And you can rest quietly and lay down peacefully because I’ve got this.”
And as for the tending and keeping? The word that God chose to use there at the end of Genesis 2:15 also means “to worship.” Because the Garden of Eden was part of life in a perfect world before sin entered into it. And a perfect garden needs no keeping.
As God and I hashed out my anxieties, my instinct was to worship in the wait without realizing the pattern of worship that was hidden there in Genesis 2. And I imagine He smiled as I wrote those words. Because that’s the way He intended it to be, all the way back in the beginning.