The following is a guest post by my friend, Bonnie
For the past two summers and over my last Christmas break, I worked as a hostess at a steak restaurant close to where I live. I loved my job as a hostess: the community I had with my coworkers always filled me with so much joy, I never had to lift any heavy trays and I got to spend my shifts welcoming people in and talking to them. It was perfect!
Like anything else, this job was a growing experience that taught me more about how to keep a positive attitude even when things feel stressful, how to work well with different personalities and how to have patience with people and with myself. I learned a lot about these things during my time at work, but one thing I learned stuck with me a little more than the others. Being a hostess especially taught me about waiting.
I’ll be honest. Waiting can be hard.
We are always waiting for something.
We wait in line at the Starbucks drive-thru, we wait for a friend to respond to a text message, we wait in traffic to get home for the oh-so-needed Christmas break, we wait to hear back from an interview and we wait for God’s timing in things like dating.
It can be hard to wait—especially when we’re waiting for something we really want. When we’re waiting on God for something, the waiting can get frustrating. We pray and wait. And wait some more. And then pray and wait even more. We wonder why we’re waiting and why it feels like God hasn’t seemed to respond yet.
We don’t always see or understand the other side of our waiting, the side that God sees.
He sees the bigger picture we don’t see. He sees the work He’s doing in us while we’re waiting, and He sees all of the factors that come into play of whatever it is we’re waiting for. If we knew even some of those things, wouldn’t waiting be so much easier? If we knew why we were waiting or why the timing was all completely wrong in that moment of wait? That’s where faith comes in. We don’t know the when or the whys; we just have to trust that God does.
Back to my story about being a hostess. This job helped give me a glimpse of the other side of waiting, the side we don’t see.
Here are the four things I learned about waiting in relation to faith from working as a hostess:
1. We may not always know the reasons why we’re waiting, but we can trust that God does.
One of my main roles at work was to take down names, give out pagers and tell customers their approximate “wait” time.
For the most part, the customers accepted the time I told them. Others, however, questioned it. They wanted to know why they were waiting or why someone got seated before them. They wanted to know why they couldn’t go ahead and be sat already.
There were often so many reasons behind why they had to wait: not enough servers working, all servers had their max number of tables already, the kitchen was backed up, we had lots of big parties, all the tables were full or sometimes, the tables were open but just needed to be cleaned off first.
The customers didn’t see that side of the waiting, they just heard “about 45 minutes to an hour” and had no choice but to wait for that timing. They didn’t see or understand the point of view we had, which was all of the important factors behind their waiting.
This is similar to when we’re waiting on God.
He sees the “whys” we don’t see. There are so many reasons behind why we’re waiting, we just don’t always see them. Like the customers don’t see the factors in waiting the hostesses see, we don’t see the factors God sees.
For example, if we’re waiting to be in a relationship, God sees all of the reasons why the timing isn’t right yet and why we need to be single for a season. Maybe He sees that we need more time to grow deeper in our faith, or sees that it’s probably better to go through college undistracted by a guy (which my mom always says could derail you from your education). Maybe we’re just not ready for that yet, and that’s okay.
There could be so many reasons behind why we’re waiting. God knows them all and He knows a whole lot more than we do! His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). His ways and thoughts are way better. They’re not just better, they’re perfect.
2. Complaining about how long it is taking doesn’t change the wait time or take away the reasons behind why we need to wait.
All we can control is our attitude. Are we waiting well, or growing impatient?
When customers would complain or ask “how much longer?” it didn’t take away the fact that we were short staffed and it wouldn’t be fair to overwhelm the servers or the fact that the kitchen needed time to get everything together.
The reasons of why they needed to wait were not going to go away because of their impatience, nor would complaining about waiting shorten the time they needed to wait.
We can choose to wait well or we can choose to feel frustrated or give up. How we wait can say a lot about our character. Waiting well can be an awesome way to grow our character.
“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” -Romans 5:2-4
3. God knows exactly where He’s going to put us and how He’s going to orchestrate all the details. This time of waiting is essential for figuring and planning it out.
As a hostess, I needed that time to figure out where I was going to put people on the waitlist to match their requests. Did they want a booth or a table? Do I need to assemble a highchair, booster seat or get a gluten-free menu for them? Do I need to push together any tables or grab any kids menus? Which servers can take a table right now and which server is next in rotation? Did they request a specific room or server? There were so many factors to consider.
Honestly, sometimes I’d tell people “just give me about five to ten minutes to figure something out” not because we were on a wait, but because I needed that time for myself to figure all of the details out.
One time I remember a request from an older couple who asked for a specific table by the front since they couldn’t walk very far. That table was open, but it wasn’t quite ready yet. I saved it for them and waited until it was cleaned off before sitting them down.
In that period before giving them exactly what they asked, I wanted to tell them during their wait, “I promise I’m going to put you where you want to go. Just trust me and wait right now.”
Whenever we’re waiting on God for something, I feel like that’s what He wants to tell us:
Just trust me and wait right now.
He knows what we asked Him for, but He also knows what’s best for us and when it is best for us. I could’ve sat them earlier, but would that couple want to sit at a table that’s dirty? I don’t think so. In the same way, God wants to give us gifts that we’re ready for and when we’re ready for them.
4. You can choose if you want to walk away and give up, or you can keep waiting.
No matter what it is, if you’re waiting on God, it will be worth it.
So often at work, I’d see customers walk out and go somewhere else after hearing how long the wait was. They decided it wasn’t worth putting in the time to wait it out and gave up.
It’s understandable, especially if they had other things going on or had somewhere else to be. However, if we’re waiting on God for something, His plan is ALWAYS going to be better than ours. We can choose to bow out and settle for less than God’s best, or we can keep waiting for His best that He promises to freely give us when the time is right.
Related: How to Endure a Season of Waiting
So friend, whatever it is you’re waiting on for God to answer, I hope this encourages you to keep trusting Him and keep waiting.
He knows why you need to wait and He knows exactly where He’s going to put you. The choice of how you wait and if you want to keep persevering in waiting is entirely up to you.
Waiting on God can be hard, but in the end, I know it will be so worth it!! There are so many great verses on waiting and keeping faith in the Bible and there’s no way I could fit them all, but I’ll leave you with some verses that have encouraged me.
“No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame,” -Psalm 25:3
“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” – Romans 8:25
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” -Psalm 27:14
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”- Hebrews 10:23
Hello! My name is Bonnie and I’m a junior English Education major. In college, I love being a resident assistant and writing tutor as well as other campus involvements! My favorite ways to spend free time is through writing, being with friends and family and growing closer to the Lord.