Some milestones in life are clear and obvious – leaving no doubt about our growth and progress forward. And many other times our growth is not obvious. In fact, it might seem as if things have stagnated on the surface. But by faith we keep stepping forward – trusting in the hidden growth that often takes place beneath the soil.
Report cards, promotions, completed projects, and the like all clearly testify of our accomplishments and the growth required of us to get to a certain point. And these concrete markers help to reassure us that we’re moving forward and that our efforts are not wasted.
On the other hand, it’s often difficult to know how we’re doing without these obvious signs. Perhaps we’re putting in a lot of effort but it seems as if we have nothing to show for it. And certainly there’s wisdom in counting the cost and adjusting course when our efforts are not fruitful. But all too often we miss the hidden growth taking place because we’re making judgments simply by what we can see on the surface.
For instance, a seed planted in the ground does significant growing before it sprouts through the soil. And the lack of evidence of the surface does not mean it’s a dud. With water and a little time, its hidden growth soon becomes clear.
And this is often the case for us as well. For example, we might not immediately see things improving in our work, relationships, or life with God. And it’s tempting in these moments to conclude our efforts are not making a difference. But often a hidden growth is still taking place. And by faith we continue to water and nurture what God has given us to do – trusting that in time it will produce the desired fruit.
We shortchange our potential when we miss this and give up prematurely.
In the end, remember your progress won’t always be obvious, but this doesn’t mean you’re not growing. Growth often happens in hidden places.