Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus

Hole Up

Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus. 

The lines of that song came flooding into my head this morning, resurrected–I think–from a gray matter vault listed MEMORIES OF YOUTH GROUP circa 1974. I don’t think I’ve heard the song again since I sat in the Armory in Medford, Oregon with my gawky peers listening to Andre Crouch and the Disciples.

Last week I sat with puffy eyes and a pulverized heart, surrounded by a pile of wadded tissues in the corner of my bedroom. I repeated one prayer: “I can’t do this again, Lord!”

Let me lay down just enough background so that when I tell you what God did you will be encouraged in your heartache too. You will glimpse the nurturing heart of Father God like I did, and you will understand why my spirit regurgitated these lyrics:

Can’t nobody

    do me like Jesus

Can’t nobody

     do me like the Lord

Can’t nobody

     do me like Jesus

(Refrain) He’s my friend.

Six years ago I was dealt a heavy, life-altering blow by a loved one. I worked through it and worked hard to forgive and move on. Then last week I was blindsided with it’s sequel; the same gut-wrenching rejection and betrayal, the same heart-pulverizing crush that took over my thoughts and excavated the landfill of my life’s wounds. It triggered an avalanche of self-loathing and a running dialogue to run away–for good!

Perhaps you can understand that kind of hardwired pain with its large taproots that you’ve spent a lifetime hacking at. Sometimes current hurts can act like a key that opens the vault on terrible wounds. The pain of it can suck the breath–and rational thinking–right out of you.

I was pacing and praying and crying out in anguish and fear and confusion–cleaning and dusting when I stumbled upon a little piece of paper with a scripture reference I’d written. As I prepared to toss it, the Still Small Voice said, “Look it up.” I reached for my phone and looked up Psalm 46:10-11:

Be still and know that I am God…

I read it a couple times and let God’s voice settle into my thoughts and redirect my focus. As I was closing my Bible App, I received a Facebook notification. I clicked on the video  link. 

A newborn baby was crying and distressed, but when her daddy speaks her name and says, “I am here, it’s okay.” The baby immediately calms. A second time the baby is upset and crying her lungs out, once again she is soothed by her daddy’s voice. He repeats, “I am here…it’s okay, Daddy’s here…”—but this time the daddy adds, “…I love you.” The infant cranes her head in the direction of her daddy’s voice and then…

 …she opens her eyes 

Comedian Michael Jr. uses the video to illustrate an encouragement to those who are hurting:

“The key thing to do in the moment is to be still and listen to the Father’s voice….”

I became wrapped in the love and comfort of my Father. My prayer turned from “I can’t do this again, Lord! to “O Father….thank you for seeing me, for loving me.” I was so grateful that my Daddy heard my tears of pain and fear; that He stepped into the middle of it and spoke my name. I was calmed, ready to trust that same Love to lead me through wherever this will lead.

And then, as if on cue, the Andre Crouch throw back hymn played in my head. It was as if the Lord was saying, “Sherrie, I am the only one who understands your pain. I am the only one who sees you, truly sees you.

I’m you’re Father, let me soothe you—let me be your friend. 

Jesus knows the fiery burn of rejection. He knows what it feels like when your blessing is trampled underfoot. He sees the vulnerable efforts we make to love when our hearts want to run lock down. And he also sees how the enemy scoops up our pain and inflates it with lies and distortions and vivid remembrances of past hurts.

All of that, Jesus knows! He knows people will hurt us deeply…that we will hurt others.

But as He reached into my wailing room and spoke my name, calmed my fears and reminded me that He loves me, O, my friends He speaks your name as well.

Be still…your Father wants to soothe you with His love.

Leave Her Alone!

Have you ever walked in the painful shoes of the reproached? Or stared down the barrel of rejection–the pointing fingers forcing you to the margins? Has your heart received the bruises of ridicule?

Of course it has!

At some point in life most of us have been the proverbial new girl sitting alone in the cafeteria, mocked for our uniqueness,  blamed for our genetics or shamed for our desire to belong.

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It was the first day of high school. The bus carried twenty-five of us loggers’ kids from our woodsy little community called Trail (no kidding) to the nearest high school 18 miles away. There was the usual mix of excitement and trepidation. I stared blankly out the window as I ticked off telephone poles and hoped I’d find my locker, master its combination and get to my classes on time.

Third period. I walked into the music room for choir, took a seat in the multi-rowed semicircle and hid behind an armload of books. I soon became aware of snickering coming from a group of boys sitting directly behind me. My face warmed. I held my breath, praying there wasn’t some wardrobe (such as it is when you’re wearing your mothers clothes) malfunction or a similarly mortifying faux pa.

“I smell bacon!” He blurted out. The words lodged in the back of my head where they were aimed. I froze. Again and louder he repeated, “I smell bacon!”  A rally of cruel laughter broke out and then a harsh nudge was delivered to my shoulder.

“Oink. Oink. Oink.”

I wasn’t overweight but I was well-developed. (I had once been mistaken for the substitute teacher in 7th grade.) But we girls, we newly emerging women–we can’t be thin enough or pretty enough or anything enough. I received those words as believable commentary on my body and vowed to alter myself.

You see, I had spent the entire 8th grade in my coat, refusing to take it off in class because of the naked shame of abuse. Though Mrs. Sawyer chided, reproached, rolled her eyes, clucked her tongue and even turned up the heat–her obsessive attempt to get me to shed my pea coat armor had failed.

I carried that “pig” indictment around with me the better part of that year as I cut carbs and applied more makeup. In the springtime one of those boys offered an apology–of sorts. “It was because your clothes smelled like woodsmoke.”

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She too had been chided. Ridiculed. Judged. The derision leveled at her didn’t come from a bully collective but from her own–her family, friends and faith community. Mary was an ardent follower known for her single focus and extravagant worship. Her devoted stay at the feet of Jesus once evoked the ire of her sister. The costly aromatic oil she poured on the crown of her King stole food from the mouths of the poor–or so the leaders in her faith community asserted.

But Jesus, on his way to ultimate betrayal, came to her defense and spoke words that reveal His posture toward all we who have ever been maligned, marginalized, maltreated and misunderstood.

“Leave her alone!”

Can you picture it? Though He keeps His love turned on, He doesn’t mince words in silencing her critics..

He speaks into the scene of those places in our lives as well, both past and present, where we are in need of defender, protector, and advocate. With the baritone of authority He similarly quiets the voice of our fault-finders–of whom we’re often numbered among.

Another translation says, “Let her be.” Can you hear it, dear friends? Can you hear the timeless words of the One who never lets you out of His sight or misses a single beat of your heart? He speaks up for you.

My prayer is that this truth sinks into your soul like healing balm; that it crowns your head with the fragrant and costly anointing that makes you His. That you remember His words when other voices threaten your peace…and your place.