One example is St. Ignatius of Loyola. Relatively late in life, Ignatius realized he was being called by God to do great things. But before he found his path he passed through a wide variety of experiences in the course of many years: a time of stark asceticism and prayer at Manresa; wandering to the Holy Land and back while living hand-to-mouth and sleeping in doorways; taking elementary courses in Paris alongside young kids; gathering a small band of followers and leading them through the Spiritual Exercises. Only at the end of this long sojourn – founding the Company of Jesus, the Jesuits – did he realize the great thing God called him to do.
The theme of waiting is also on display in Dante’s Purgatorio. Dante and Virgil encounter a number of souls who slouch at the foot of the mountain of Purgatory. They are destined to make the climb to heaven, but are compelled, for the time being, to wait. How long? As long as God determines.
Like Ignatius and the slouchers in Purgatory, we wait. Although most of us are in a hurry, God calls us to a period of anticipation for the newborn King.