How to Get Up When Things are Down

Psalms 42:5

The Psalmist wrote something that I think is paramount for those who, from time-to-time, experience some “downtimes,” when he wrote, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?  hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” A cast sheep, or a cast down sheep, is a difficult sight to behold because he cannot get up by himself without the help and care of his shepherd.

Typically, a heavy, fat, or long-fleeced sheep will lie down comfortably in some little hollow or depression in the ground and roll over slightly in order to relax.  Suddenly, the center of gravity in its body shifts and then he is on his back; the feet no longer touch the ground, and he is pawing frantically trying to regain his footing.

As it lies there struggling, gases begin to build up in the rumen, which is the large, first compartment of the stomach of a ruminate (even-toed, hoofed mammal that chews the cud such as a sheep, giraffe, deer, camel).  As these gases expand, they tend to retard (slow down) and cut off blood circulation to extremities, especially the legs.

As the shepherd tenderly rolls the cast down sheep on its side, this relieves the pressure of the gases in the rumen.  Then, straddling the sheep with his legs, the shepherd would hold the sheep erect, rubbing its limbs to restore the circulation in the legs.  Little by little, the cast down sheep would regain its equilibrium.  By and by, it would dash away and rejoin the other sheep; set free from its fears and frustration, given a chance to live a little longer.

Likewise, many people have the idea that when a person falls, and it seems as though life’s challenges are overwhelming, typically, most people give up, become frustrated, and lose hope.  But, one of the great revelations of the heart of God, given to us by Christ, is that of Himself as Shepherd.  He has the same, or identical, sensations of anxiety, concern, and compassion for cast down men and women as a shepherd has for a cast down sheep.  

Give Him praise as you look to Him for your help.  He is the ultimate source to look to and to instruct you on, “How to Get Up When Things are Down”!

District Elder James E. Coats

New Christ Temple Church

Apostolic Faith, Inc.