In the bulb, there is a flower;
In the seed, an apple tree;….
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see.

So begins Hymn of Promise, one of my favorite hymns by Natalie Sleeth.

These words have been swirling through my head a lot lately. Spring is late this year in northern Ohio. Cold, wet weather has made the bloom of flowers and trees several weeks behind schedule at my home. But even so, I am finally beginning to see a few buds and blooms appear.

With day after day of cold, dreary weather, at times this spring I have had my doubts. But sure enough, the crocus and daffodil blooms have finally appeared and I know there are a few tulips coming soon. Even though I couldn’t see it, even though it seemed as though nothing was happening, a lot was going on under those soggy lumps of clay.

Isn’t that a lot like teaching? Or raising children? Or learning a new skill? I may work and work and see no progress. But often, things are happening even when I can’t see them. Learning is taking place, change is happening, and progress is often being made, even if I can’t see it on a daily basis.

As some of you know, my niece was in a terrible accident in December. She has a major brain injury from the accident. It is now day 136 since the accident. That’s 136 days of not hearing her voice. 136 days of a coma. 136 days where it has seemed that little progress was being made.

But the past three or four days we have seen some incredible signs that there is some healing in her brain. She has started to be able to respond to simple requests. It is clear that she has some understanding of the things we are saying. We do not yet know where this will lead and the road ahead is long. But we do know that things are going on in her brain that we can’t see.

Our job is to keep on working, keep on hoping. No matter what the task is ahead of you on this day, please keep in mind that often progress is unseen. But even though it is only a bulb today, eventually we will see that flower!