James: Day 10

Boasting About Tomorrow

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Today's Text: James 4:13-17, Proverbs 27:1, Acts 18:19-21, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Scripture Reading: James 4:13-17, Proverbs 27:1, Acts 18:19-21, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

The other morning I sat down and thumbed through some old journals from earlier in my 20s. (Incidentally, if you want a good laugh, go back to another season in life and read about what was important to you then.) Sometimes I mentioned an upcoming event or trip or a boy or some kind of debacle that I’d found myself in. But I always had some kind of a plan in motion.

The trend started early. I once found a to-do list from when I was about eight years old that included “play outside for 1.5 hours.” Because childhood is way more fun when you plan it.

To this day, my tendency to plan is in full effect. Each and every day starts off with a to-do list of what I want to accomplish. I even add the tasks I’ve already finished, just for the satisfaction of checking them off ‘the list.’ Anyone else?

My junior year of college, some of my dearest and I planned a retreat to the suburbs of Chicago. As we pulled onto the freeway, I was in the passenger seat in charge of navigation, giving me the much-appreciated perception of control. So you can imagine my surprise when I looked up from my map to see the car in front of us at a full stop—while we cruised along in pace with the rest of the highway.


What happened next felt so slow that I can remember every moment, but it was, in reality, mere seconds. Everything became eerily silent. My last thought before impact was, You’re about to be in a car accident.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes.
- James 4:13-14

Nothing prepares you for a crash. For the smell of exhaust. The sound of bending metal and shattering glass. The taste of airbag dust. The shock.

As things settled, I leaned my shoulder into the car door and stepped out of the wreckage into the stopped, shocked traffic, the Chicago skyline rising up around me. I brushed the airbag dust off of my shirt and cheeks and took a few shaky steps. For months, I would wrestle with the crash in my dreams as I waded through the feeling of helplessness.

It’s inevitable. We get phone calls or texts or emails that stop us dead in our tracks. The devastating news comes—on-screen, in a letter, or across someone else’s lips. Or maybe, like me, you’ve witnessed or experienced something horrific, something tragic or traumatic. Suddenly, your plans get pushed aside and those to-do lists get burned. You’re left raw and broken, trying to catch your breath.

That’s the moment when you remember the truth: you’re not the one upholding anything. You remember not to “boast about tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day might bring” (Proverbs 27:1). Christ alone holds all things together (Colossians 1:17).

Tomorrow could bring beauty; it could bring heartache. But as I’ve been reminded, even in my darkest moments, Christ holds me fast. Each moment is laced with His grace.

SRT-James-instagram10

Melissa Zaldivar is a social in the world of academics and an academic in the world of socials. Ever the Enneagram Six, she likes to dream big, talk herself out of it, and then just do the thing already. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Bible/Theology as well as a Master’s in Theology. Her passions include eating Jimmy John’s sandwiches, showing people pictures of her nieces, and nerding out over biblical languages. If you ever need to know anything about obscure Puritanical American history or NASA, she’s your girl.

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  • This is one of my favorite verses. As I child, I worried about everything. And I mean, everything. My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was 10 years old, and lost her battle when I was almost 12. Oddly enough, this life changing event caused me to end my constant worry. I knew that God had a bigger plan than my own. Even in times when His plan didn’t make sense to me, I had faith that His plan was better than mine could ever be. He sees the bigger picture. 17 years later, I find myself looking back at all the times God has seen me through. All the times His plan has shown itself in my life. Why worry when the God of the universe has me in His hands? There is such peace in knowing He is in control.

  • The vapour in the wind made me think of a song of casting crowns.. Who am I ?

    https://youtu.be/mBcqria2wmg

    Still He hears us when we are calling, evne though we are just a vapour in the wind.

  • Sarah Jane

    When life doesn’t go to plan. When tragedy interrupts blissful living we experience the love of Christ in a deeper way, and the knowledge that we are first and foremost children of God is embedded in our hearts and minds. We look back years later and can say in all truthfulness that Christ alone is our cornerstone and never leaves us. I have never felt more secure in my saviours love and doubt that I would have without painful experiences. He is with us through the storm.

  • “Christ holds me fast.”
    Wow. I need that written on my heart so badly – there is freedom in believing we’re not in control, though my flesh thinks otherwise. God is taking me through a season of seeing that I’m actually in bondage when I want to control everything – a good coping mechanism but not a long term solution for a relationship with God. Thanks for these words, SRT!

  • Thank you SRT team for sharing today’s devo… it was especially hard to read today, and yet at the same time, comforting. My father-in-law received a terminal diagnosis today, and we are all in shock, as two months ago we were told his treatments were successful. So, so thankful that it is Christ alone who holds all things together.

    • She Reads Truth

      Oh, sweet friend. I am so sorry to hear about your father-in-law’s diagnosis. We will be praying for him and for your family in this difficult time.

      – Stormye

      • Trace

        Thank you so much – we are so grateful for your prayers, and for this community that is so quick to support one another in prayer.

    • Mel

      I am so, so sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I don’t post very much on here, but my heart went out to you as I read your comment. My father-in-law passed away almost 4 years ago now from a terminal illness that we also thought was treatable, or at least that he’d be with us for a few more years. I also am thankful that Christ holds all things together! Looking back now, I can clearly see Him doing that as He poured out His faithfulness, love, and strength on our family during that time. My heart is with you, and I will be praying for your family as you walk this road together. ❤️

      • Trace

        Thank you Mel – I am so sorry to hear of your father-in-law’s passing as well. I’ll be praying for your family as well, as I know anniversaries of these days are never easy, even when you can see God’s faithfulness through it all. Thank you for your note and your prayers – I so appreciate it.

  • Arrogance can prevent us from doing what we know is right. We need humility so we can have courage in Jesus. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. This life is no more than vapor. So I surrender it to God, and I know He can use it for so much more.

  • It’s crazy, I didn’t read today’s lesson or Melissa’s story until I got home tonight. But on my way home from my second job tonight, I was almost in a really really bad car accident. It’s like Melissa said, everything goes in slow motion, it’s like everything flashes before your eyes. My heart is still thumping like crazy.
    Your life can be taken in the blink of an eye…Are you ready?

  • “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:34

    This is what came to mind as I read the passage.

  • Lindsay Prater

    Wondering where Melissa went to school! I too spent my college years in downtown Chicago and made many drives out the the suburbs.

  • Wow I just love the this today. What a truly important and difficult lesson this is to learn. My husband and I got married in 2012 and just a few months after I started getting very sick and was eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease. We have dealt with that certainly for a long time and had our ups and downs and then just in the fall we found out our sweet 2 year old pup had osteosarcoma (cancer). We had to amputate her leg but her cancer came back within a month and we had to put her to sleep in January. I’m a pediatric oncology nurse so sometimes I feel bad because I definitely see people go through so much more than I can imagine. Sometimes it feels like so much to bear to go through the fire, to keep your head above the waves on the difficult days. On the good days though man I know God is good and he is working to get through the pain we have had and the love we have shared with each other through our heartaches. He will turn our mourning into dancing.

    • elise

      Thank you for sharing, Heather. I am praying for you to keep that hope and peace in your heart and God first in your life. He makes those painful days more bearable. Keep looking for the beauty God is showing you! It’s in the little things!

      • Heather

        Thank you so much! It is small steps every day truly , I appreciate it.

    • Stacey

      Heather, thank you’ll much for sharing. I have a similar story. I became very sick in 2015 and way eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease. Then I was suddenly diagnosed with endometrial cancer and had to get a hysterectomy 4 weeks ago. Good knew’s the Dr believes he removes it all. We truly don’t know what tomorrow will bring. My hope is to be much healthier and even rid completely of the Lyme disease this year as I start IV antibiotics, if God will it!
      If you don’t mind where are you a nurse at?

      • Heather

        Oh my, I’m so sorry. I will be praying for your road to recover and for your to have peace as well. I can’t imagine, sometimes it doesn’t make sense why we have to go through the fire but it’s good to know we don’t have to walk through alone. Jesus knows our earthly heartaches. I work at Vanderbilt children’s hospital :)

  • Diane Huntsman

    A man plans his ways but his steps are ordered by the Lord! Plan and hold loosely for plan changes happen daily! Those death grips on my plans, God has pried my fingers loose far too many times in my 49 years of life.. so I’ve learned to hold loosely and trust that a change of plans isn’t a violation of my perfect plan, it’s a divine change for the better.. may not seem better to me, but Gods ways aren’t my ways they are higher and sometimes harder or disappointing are the only ways that my faith will deepen, that I’ll see more clearly that which is eternal.. that which matters far more than my perfect little comfortable plan.. not all will go my way, thank You God for that. I want character more than comfort eternal perspective more than temporal ease and that’s gonna happen when you change my plans to Your plans.

  • I’m living today. It’s summer break as a teacher, and I had a ton of plans to nest and ready my home for a baby these next couple of months – motivated to clean and prepare. But I miscarried last month for the third time, so I have learned a lot about not planning for tomorrow. Today is a gift of life, and I’m trying to see how God gives me His grace for today because I’m sad and angry and asking Him to grant me hope again and the ability to say “If the Lord wills.”

    • lOUISE

      Oh Robin, I don’t have or know the right words but have hope. God sees you. Much love.

    • Diane Huntsman

      I am so deeply sorry.. my daughter experienced several miscarriages as well so I am aquatinted with your pain as I watched my daughter suffer.. I pray for peace and comfort for you this day. Please Lord, grant Robin the desire of her heart and hold her tightly this day.

    • Emily B.

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Robin. I pray you can use this time off to heal and press into the Lord and be encouraged by His love and grace.

    • Sandy W.

      I am so very sorry Robin. I do so pray that the Lord will indeed bring you the much needed comfort, strength and hope that only He can bring. You will be in my prayers!

    • Michelle

      Praying for you Robin

    • She Reads Truth

      Sweet friend. I am so sorry to hear of this unimaginable loss. Praying for you and asking God to grant you comfort and peace and even joy through His Word in this time.

      – Stormye

  • Tochi Heredia

    I was in a metaphorical crash yesterday. After that initial shock, as I was standing up, my legs became jelly and my ears started ringing.

    The muffled sound of the voice of my boss was saying they were letting me go. My health issues deemed me unreliable for long-term planning within the company.
    I was sitting at my desk, listening to music, and I was called to go for a chat. Just like that, I was “free to go”. The only things that went through my head we’re a)I can’t leave now, my to-do list for the week is huge!, and b)this job was my way of getting the funds to go to England.

    “You’re not the one upholding anything”. Praise be to God.

    • Alexis

      I am so sorry Tochi. I will be praying for you.

    • Leenda324

      Wow Tochi. Awful. But God. And I know from experience, He will care for you. He will provide. ❤️

    • She Reads Truth

      Oh, Tochi. I am so sorry to hear this. Praying for you in this time, friend. Asking the Lord to bring you a peace that surpasses your understanding and to do more in this than you could ever imagine. So grateful for you.

      – Stormye

  • Another thought just came to me: God is in the driver’s seat and you are in the passenger’s seat. Keep him company and enjoy the ride.

  • I laughed and shook my head as I read this devotional this morning. I had just finished writing up my kids’ summer task lists for the day and my own to-do list was running through my head. This truth is so needed for me to remember that I am not the one in control of my days.

  • God has stripped me of my plan making ways. But now, with no foreseeable plans for the future, I feel listless. I have so many things to feel grateful about. A wonderful business, great family and friends, a beautiful place to live. But it’s kind of eerie to be floating in the world not exactly knowing where you’re going next. I keep wondering, is this it? Why do I even want more? Perhaps the lesson is to learn how to enjoy this part of the path. To stay rooted in gratitude and trust. To know the door will appear when it’s time. Maybe this is a purifying time? He’s cleaning out my old leaven so that I may be the loaf of bread I’m supposed to be. Times like these I lean heavy on my mustard seed faith. If anyone has the time, would appreciate a prayer :)

    • alexis

      I am walking through something similar right now. I will pray that you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. That you stay rooted in gratitude and trust. That although you may not know where you are going, Jesus will be the lighthouse that guides your way.
      Cling the the mustard seed faith…it’s a beautiful thing.

      • Rosemary

        Just read 2 Chronicles 20:12 We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

    • Kendra

      Thanks for sharing, Lana. I think I could have written your post! I’ll be praying for you and our mustard seed of faith!

    • She Reads Truth

      Absolutely praying for you, Lana. Asking the Lord to provide clarity and direction. So glad you reached out and let us know how to pray for you today.

      – Stormye

  • Annie Keller

    I’m in nursing school, and I told many people that I AM going to be a pediatric nurse. When I didn’t get the internship I thought was a sure thing (and that I had told everyone about), I then also didn’t get the CNA position at a prestigious hospital (I got a referral from one of the nurses and so, thinking it was a given, I told everyone about this also). Now, I have an interview for a job I really wasn’t enthusiastic about…but I’m pressing into the Lord’s will for my life, not my own. I’m so grateful I even have an interview at all at this point. It has been a humbling experience. Today’s scripture is incredibly convicting. I’m so grateful. I pray that we all as sisters can avoid the temptations of boasting, and that the arrogance in our hearts will be replaced with truth, sincerity, and humility. Amen.

  • Yesterday and today’s readings have both been so convicting. God has been reminding me to remain humble, pay attention to what He’s doing in my life and put down my lists. I am not in control. Thank you for this study of James!

  • This is a good reminder today. Through my life experience, I have learned to trust God on my finances and job. He has been faithful over and over again. One time my contract was not being renewed (and I was notified 2 weeks before). That meant no income and having to move back home. But God came through and I found a new job in record time.
    Now the challenge for me is to trust Him in other areas of my life as well (particularly emotions and my heart). I have to be constantly reminded that He is in control, over all, not just a piece of my life. And that means that I have to let go and let God be God.

  • This is very appropriate and convicting for me. I am THAT list maker too. I make lists and I make plans and I expect them to go as planned.

    When things go wrong, which they do, I’ve been a terrible wife, mother, friend, daughter. I am frazzled, upset, grumpy and everyone knows my plans have fallen through. A few years ago two of my dear friends reminded me of these passages and challenged me on my sin. I’m so so thankful for those friends and their bravery to confront me.

    Today, I still make lists and plans but my attitude towards change has taken a more Christ like reaction. I still mess up BUT Jesus. Through lots of prayer and diligence in changing my attitude when changes have come the Lord has really changed my heart and my mind set to more reflect His time and His plans and His tomorrow rather than my own.

    • Cecelia Enns Schulz

      Me too. I’ve asked God to change me. Because all my attempts to control end up in pieces. I mean, sometimes things go as planned but is that what has to happen to allow me to be happy? Ridiculous! It can’t be! Because I am NOT in control and those times it seemed like I possibly was, was just God allowing my “plans” to happen. I must choose everyday to surrender my will, my life to God. And then…HE makes something beautiful. HE causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him. HE is in control and a good good Father.

    • Emily B.

      Thanks for sharing your testimony! I’m a rigid list-maker/planner, too, and God’s been working on me about being more flexible and living in the moment. Everything’s going to work out because He’s in control.

  • churchmouse

    A good reminder to make “Spend time in the Word” the first thing on my daily to – do list. When I read what He has to say I know I’m not in control but He is. I give myself the opportunity to surrender my agenda to His. And all will be just fine.

  • I love to make lists and have also put things I’ve already done on the list just I can check them off! It is most definitely a control thing, but in the last month God has been teaching me that it’s alright to make plans and lists, but as I make my lists I need to make room for God. He is Sovereign and He has the right to run my life any way He wants to. I teach school and today is my last day (Woo Hoo!!). I will spend some time in the next few days making plans for what I want to do this summer. I always make a list in my journal. But I am learning to hold onto those plans and lists very loosely, offering them up to God to do with as He pleases.

  • Speaking of plans being pushed aside … Today´s reading was very much what I experienced these last weeks. My husband, a self-employed insulation worker, had his toe fractured when his heavy machine fell on his foot about two weeks ago. We are very thankful that nothing worse happened, but since he is self-employed it also means, having no income for about six weeks. This hit us totally unexpected and the only thing that keeps us going is the knowledge, that God is in control. He has never failed us in the past, so we cling to His provision for the presence. “Christ holds me fast. Each moment is laced with His grace” – thank you for the reminder! :)

    • Ingrid

      Praying for you and your family, Marianne.

    • candacejo

      Jehovah-Jireh! My Provider! Praying for you both this morning and trusting God will supply all your needs according to HIS riches in glory. ♥ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFPa_147idI&list=PLPnATzgPAjWjDTb-6ze_Nyrq4X7EQsLD9

    • Kathy

      Marianne, several years ago my husband was laid off from his job. It took him a year to find another job. We had just made plans for me to quit my job and stay home with our two girls. I was already just working part-time and when this happened I had to go back to work full-time. We were both very grateful that my boss let me do that, but that was one of the hardest years of our marriage. But, it was also one of the sweetest because God was so in control. Our bills got paid, groceries got bought and we learned so much about trusting Him for everything. Praying for you and your family

    • Caitie

      Praying for your family! :)

    • Lana

      Just said a prayer!

  • Alice Carroll

    This came to mind:
    We rest on Thee, our shield and our defender
    We go not forth alone against the foe
    Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender
    We rest on Thee and in Thy Name we go.
    Colossians 1:17 is:
    “He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.”
    ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭NET‬‬
    http://bible.com/107/col.1.17.net

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