Fading Away


Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.

I read those lines from 1 John again this morning with my two oldest sons. When we finished, I went back and read them aloud again. Then we discussed.

“This is important,” I said.

It wasn’t about keeping them from sinful behavior, though. Of course, I hope that they can avoid as much hurt caused by sin as possible—unless God allows that for their own greater benefit. I can not know or understand such things.

What is important is what I made bold above: And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves.

Everything is fading away. I see reminders of that everywhere. Everywhere.

Jim Kelly, the icon of toughness for the Buffalo Bills and the entire western half of New York State is in a very weakened state, in a hospital in NYC, hoping to battle back cancer… again. Our friend, Scott Shimp continues to fight his stage four cancer, which doctors say is incurable, but he (knowing the Great Healer) says otherwise. My Mom is recovering from painful surgery that revealed more damage than they had anticipated. She’s OK, but in much pain. (She often is.)

Other friends are dealing with cancers (new and recurring), death of spouses, and we also know of a little four-year-old boy who is fighting a disease far too early in his life on this earth.

This world is fading away along with all that it craves (1 John)

There is good news in that, especially for all who are fighting, clawing, battling against the brokenness of this temporary, fading reality. We know it is temporary. We are pilgrims, passing through. But it is also all too real. The hurt, pain, distress, fear

We know that he casts out fear. There are dozens and dozens (hundreds?) of reminders of this in the words of scripture. Do not fear. Trust. Rest.

But while we traverse this temporary, fading existence… the darkness can feel too great, too overwhelming. Too often.

When our hearts are affixed to that which fades, our hearts will fade with it.

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Jesus reminded us of this. He knew we needed to remember it. This is important.

Fix our eyes on Jesus. Treasure that which lasts. This world, the physical pleasures—even those that are good, wholesome, godly—and even our own bodies are only temporary. Fading. But Jesus is not. He is eternal life. And to know him, is how we taste and experience that Life. (John 17:3)

This is important.

I don’t know what you are facing, but I am sure it’s something. Whether you’re feeling at peace with it, or raging against the injustice of whatever it may be, or the feeling of loneliness as you wage weary war against this enemy mostly unknown to even your closest friends…

Remember what is important. If you’re reading this, you have been given life today. For right now. We can not hold on to anything here. Nothing!

Only his kingdom, and his righteousness (not ours!) and only abiding in and enjoying fellowship with the Son.

And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.

Remember what is important. Please. And by God’s glorious grace, let’s walk in his brilliant light, with joy, each day he gives us in this fading world, with great, eager hope of the world that is to come.


Footnote: I began this post early today, and wrote out bits and pieces throughout my work day. Around 3:00 pm, my Twitter app exploded with the news of the death of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., founder and only owner of the Buffalo Bills. (Whom you likely know I avidly follow.) It was a sort of confirmation of the certainty of the fade of this world, everything being temporary. We know death is the period at the end of our sentence, and we are constantly reminded of its reality. And yet, we have hope. Jesus defeated death. I’m so glad he did.

Life Is Hard, For Everyone

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”—Jesus


Recently, in several discussions with friends and relatives, I was condsidering again how everyone has something. Each of us—despite appearances to the contrary—is dealing with some hard thing. Whether it’s our own health, finances, relationships, addictions, depression, OR it’s someone close to us who is sick, hurting, dying…

Life is hard. Often really hard.

Kids dying. Marriages being ripped apart (from the inside, even). Poverty, disease, hunger, death. Need I go on? No, but I will. Addictions of all kinds that have an iron grip on their victims, never letting go. Deep sadness, depression, loneliness, suicides. Orphans (by accident, illness, or choice) or even more sad, abortions. Sex trafficking of young children. Forcing other children to learn to hate and kill and destroy whomever they are trained to see as ‘the enemy’.

Steal, kill, and destroy. Sounds like our Enemy. Powers of darkness. Very real.

And it’s not just volitional evil, of course. Accidents of all kinds rip families apart as some are left to grieve those who are gone. Planet earth can become violent in its own right, whipping up storms and earthquakes and fires… death, destruction, disaster everywhere.

Where is the hope? Why are we not all balled up in a corner hoping to quickly wither away, leaving all of this behind?

“But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

We can find happiness, and even the elusive joy1 in the midst of whatever blackness may be touching or completely enveloping us. Jesus also said, just before the words above, “But the time is coming—indeed, it’s here now—when… [I will be] alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.”

I am not alone. The Father is with me.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.

Words that are embedded in my brain from my childhood. Truth that becomes more real as I live this life. Nearly four decades of dealing with much of what life can dish out had not necessarily jaded me, but I do often feel the bruises and scars from all that I’ve come through.

Come through with him.

The thing is, really, everybody has something. We know we’re not alone because Father is with us. Even if all others abandon us. But we also know we are not alone because—I’m convinced—everyone else around me is going through something as hard (for them) as whatever my deepest hurt is. Now, I don’t want to minimize anyone’s own trial. In fact, I think most of us would feel like MY trial is harder, longer, more arduous. That makes sense, because it obviously affects us the most.

But might there be some joy—some relief?—in sharing the burden of another? For a time, walk beside another who is hurting, even if you are still feeling your way through your own dark.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. —Galatians 6:2

There is joy in empathy and understanding, for the giver and receiver. There is joy in knowing we’re not alone. Jesus knew it, even without his friends. He also invited us to know that peace, in all circumstances.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” —Matthew 11:28

Hope, rest, peace… all come from knowing that Jesus is with us, no matter how bleak. Anchoring our hearts to him, there are moments of joy along the way, despite the circumstances.

And, knowing that we’re not the only one facing something terribly hard, perhaps a connection with a friend or relative to share those burdens will bring joy, too.

We’re all dealing with something. Jesus said we would.

He was right.

And REM agreed. (Couldn’t resist adding this video… enjoy!)

Addendum: The day this post was written, during breakfast prep, it was discovered that our long-lived dwarf hamster, Tucker, had finally expired. Needless to say, this became the ‘trial’ of the day for several Campbell children. More evidence that everyone and every day has something, doesn’t it?

  1. I read an article recently that presented the idea that we have happiness in tension with the understanding that sadness will follow. Joy is found even in that sadness, or potential sadness. Well-written, and worth the read.