Pastoral Hub

IFGF Global



It’s not a popular topic that people talk about at the dinner table.

It’s not a trending hashtag that people click on. Nobody makes a reel about this.

It’s considered taboo in some cultures to even mention this word.

However, here we are, standing at the end of April 2022.

Since exactly 2 years ago, whether we like it or not, death has become an integral part of our lives. The news about the global pandemic and war are being blasted on the daily. Death tolls are being released religiously by our local Health Departments. Condolence sentiments are flowing constantly through our WhatsApp chats. Some of us are planning and attending more than one memorial service throughout the year, be it online or in-person. I don’t know which one we are running out of the most, comforting words or our own tears. The unavoidable is happening among us. We lost our loved ones along the way. For my family personally, since the beginning of 2021, we have lost eight of my dearest friends and family members from both cancer and COVID.

But God.

In the midst of all this, God is God, and He is good.

He faithfully continues to speak life into our situations, turning graves into gardens.

Revelation upon revelation, healing upon healing.

Specifically, this exact verse has never been more ALIVE in our hearts, bringing a whole new meaning to it. These words came out from the mouth of Jesus, flowing straight into the heart of a grieving sister after the death of her beloved sibling. It is written in John 11:25-26 NLT.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

Do we believe this?

Back in July 2021, my family was invited to Oregon to lead worship at my cousin’s memorial service. One night before the service, I was preparing my heart in our hotel room. As I closed my eyes, suddenly the Lord impressed in my heart a picture of an airport hub. In this busy airport, people were rushing from one hub to another, rolling multiple large luggage. There were a lot of people sitting on the gates and lounges waiting for their boarding announcements.

He then asked me this intriguing question. “When you are waiting at the airport for your flight, will you unload all of your belongings and make yourself at home?” In my head, I started imagining these travelers “unpacking” their belongings in the midst of a busy gate; their pajamas, pillows, shampoo, and toothbrush, trying to make themselves comfortable. I remember thinking of how silly this whole situation is, so I gently shook my head and answered Him, “No”.

The Lord then gently spoke to my heart,

“Remember that the earth is never meant to be our final destination.

We are never supposed to “unpack” and make ourselves at home.

Just like this airport, the earth is just a hub, a stepping stone,

a preparation place before you fly home.”

God’s voice was so gentle, yet clear.

With tears in my eyes, this verse struck deep into my soul.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

For me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
(Philippians 1:21)

Friends, that day I was strongly reminded that this earth is not our home.

One day, we are going to fly to a place where we can hug Jesus in person.

A place where our arms can finally wrap around Him, so tight that we’d never want to let go.

A place where we’re finally home.

No more pain, no more tears, no more cancer.

This is the place where we can see our loved ones again, with their radiant faces, full hearts, and healthy bodies.

That day we will realize that they were all just boarding the earlier flights.

How joyful that reunion day will be.

However, while we are alive on earth at this moment,

with breaths in our lungs and praise in our lips. we still have jobs to do.

We have one short life before we leave, and we have to refocus on the main thing.

  1. To live is CHRIST.

This verse gives us so much focus. So much direction.

Just like the airport. We all go to the airport with one purpose, one goal, one direction in mind, that is to leave that place. The only goal for us to go to the airport is to fly away from it. It’s just a temporary hub. We don’t go there to stay. We don’t go there to “be entertained and get fed”. We don’t build a kingdom or grow roots at the airport.

We simply go there to prepare.

Prepare for what? For the next destination, of course!

We park our car, check in our luggage, go through TSA lines, prepare our documents, fill up our bellies, and go to the restroom. We are just there to prepare.

If the one purpose for us togo to the airport is to prepare to fly,

then the one purpose of our lives on earth is to prepare for eternity.

The only difference is that in Christianity, our job is to bring as many people with us as possible.

To know God, and to make Him known. 

2. To die is GAIN.

I think most of us agree that the airport is not the most comfortable place to be. It is crowded, full of germs, it’s loud and overwhelming. However, we go through the airport with such passion and excitement, because we know where we’re going.

PARADISE! (wherever paradise might be for you; Hawaii, Bali, Home).

In this life, our destination is HEAVEN!

We can go through life with such passion and excitement because we know exactly where we’re going. We have an eternal “paradise” in heaven that God is now preparing for us.

There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
(John 14:2 NLT)

Today, God wants us to check our “boarding passes”! For those of us who have lost dear friends and family members in the past few years, take heart!
They were just boarding the earlier flights. The good news is: We are all going to the same place. If we check our boarding passes, our destinations are the same.
From earth, to heaven.

The one thing that we have to pay attention to is our boarding time.

The fact is, there is none.

Nobody knows the time we will depart.

If these past two years can teach us anything, it’s that life is so short!

We don’t know when our time is up and that final call will be heard for us to go to our real destination. We have to always be ready.

Today, let’s take time to ponder about our lives.

One very short and temporary life on earth.

How can we prepare well for eternity?

How can we introduce Jesus and bring as many people as we can to heaven?

Why are we still here?

What are we ALIVE for?

Are we getting too comfortable and acquainted in this place?

What is the one assignment that God has for us here on planet earth?

God’s assignment for each of us is different,

It might be doing our job well in the marketplace to give glory back to Him.

It might be being a stay home mom and loving our family well.

One of my most favorite Andy Stanley quote is this:

“Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do,

but someone you raise”

God might be calling us to be engineers, entrepreneurs, programmers, missionaries, teachers, nurses, or even simply being a witness in our community. Whatever our calling is, let us do it well.

“To live is Christ, to die is gain”

PS. Till we see you again, dear friends.

For now, please hug Jesus for me.

This article is dedicated to the most inspiring sisters I know, Carmen and Kristin Bong.

Ci, please say hi to my grandpa when you see him. He’s the one always singing karaoke with the angels in Mandarin.

Source : Joy Sukadi (Global Women Coordinator)


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