by Jonni Sliver
A friend of mine in India has a rotating prayer list and every few months he drops me an e-mail telling me he is praying for me, and asks for requests. I just recently got this e-mail and I thought what I should write him back. The one word that came to mind was “exfoliation”.
Though I don’t do it often I love getting a pedicure. It’s not just pretty toe-nails, it is going in with the rough heels that accompany the normally barefoot and coming out with soft feet that have been soaked and then scrubbed and rubbed until all of that old, dry skin is gone and only fresh pink remains. That is just what came to mind – that I needed God to exfoliate my heart.
I love what I do in Brazil (and what I get to do here on furlough!). But there are times when I get so involved in the doing of it all that I get more focused on the what than the who. Several months ago God ministered to me a lot through His words to the seven churches in Revelations. One in particular was the church in Ephesus, who served faithfully, diligently but the Lord had one thing against them – they had lost their first love. They knew what to do, they did it, but they lost sight of who they were doing it for. That isn’t hard to do; to get wrapped up in work, to focus on the needs and to set your eyes there. The problem is, the more you focus on the need the less you have to give! The only source of hope and healing for my kids (your family, your congregation, your city) comes from the Living God who called us to minister His grace!
The good news is God loves to exfoliate hearts! One of the most tender passages in the Old Testament. In Hosea chapter 2 the Lord tells how He desires to deal with a wandering Bride; He says
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.”
Another word for “allure” is to “woo”; the Righteous God draws us away, to woo us!
This time in the States is necessary (unless I want to begin an illegal immigrant ministry!) It has also been a pleasure as I get to visit so many precious AFLC families. And it has been a blessing, because God has been taking the time to speak tenderly to my heart. His desire is that I return to Brazil with more than a new visa, but with a soft, tender heart!