51. There is only one fatal disease.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. {2 Corinthians 5:1}

After my father was diagnosed with ALS, whenever friends saw my mom and offered her sympathies on his plight, she loved to tell them that there was only fatal disease, and she was so glad Ken didn’t have it! That always produced an odd look on the faces of these well-wishers; you could sort of see them thinking, She does know that ALS is terminal, right?

They were wondering if my mom “got it,” but all the while, she was trying to help them “get it”! And getting it means understanding that if there is only one condition that can separate you from God, the Source of Life, then there truly is only one fatal disease. The irrevocably-hardened heart is the only illness that God cannot heal, and it is the only one that can cut a person off from Life. Otherwise, no matter what we encounter that makes our heart temporarily stop beating and our lungs temporarily stop breathing, it’s just a blip. A momentary rest. A pause.

Perhaps you’ve been put under general anesthesia in order to have surgery. If so, you know exactly what it’s like to be “put out” for some length of time and then to be woken up, having no idea how long you were out. For all you know, it could have been minutes, weeks, or even years. But you only experienced it as a moment.

Or imagine that you’re watching a movie, and you get called away unexpectedly to something important, so you hit “pause” on your DVD player. Even if you didn’t return for two weeks, when you hit “play,” your movie would continue from the same place you paused it.

That’s what the first death is like. It’s a split-second pause in an otherwise-continuous life. We may be asleep in the first death for minutes, years, or eons, but each of us will only experience it as a split-second. It’s a pause in our life, not the end of our life. In God’s universe, there is only one life-ending condition, only one fatal disease, and the good news is, it is completely within your power to never be diagnosed with that illness!

If you want to dig deeper—
Ezekiel 18:23-24, 31-32
Matthew 10:28
John 10:10
John 11:25-26
John 17:3
1 John 2:17