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Flat On Our Back

I learned something about sheep recently. I read an article online which talked about what happens when sheep find themselves tipped over. So apparently, yes, this is a thing. It seems that if sheep have a heavy wool coat or are pregnant, the extra weight throws off their balance and they can find themselves on their backs, unable to get back up again. This is a dangerous thing as not only does it leave them vulnerable to predators, but if a sheep is down too long, it will die from suffocation. This condition, knownto shepherds as being “cast”, leaves the sheep helpless and flailing its legs in the air and unable to right itself again. The role of the shepherd is to keep watch over their sheep carefully and immediately come to the aid of any sheep in the cast position, unable to get back up on their own.


As I was reading this article and thinking through it, I couldn’t help but be reminded that this is exactly what Jesus, our Good Shepherd, does for you and I.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

We, like sheep, are heavily dependent on Jesus as our shepherd for guidance, protection, and rescue. There are times in our lives when we find ourselves flat on our backs, unable to get back up again on our own, but He never leaves us in that place. Whether what’s keeping us down is depression or anxiety or illness or relationship issues or feelings of we aren’t good enough or family troubles or problems at work or school, He comes alongside us and helps us to not only get back up, but He’s with us as we take our next steps forward.

It brings to mind Psalm 23, which reads:

The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:1-6



If we are in trouble, Jesus comes to our rescue. (See Psalm 91:2)

If we are in need, Jesus gives us His provision. (See Philippians 4:19)

If we stray, Jesus brings us back into the flock. (See Matthew 18:12)

If we have fallen and can’t get up again on our own, Jesus gives us a holy hand up. (See Psalm 40:1-3)

And one day, when we breathe our last breath on this earth, Jesus, our Shepherd will give us eternal life, free from pain or suffering. Revelation 7:15-17:

“That is why they stand in front of God’s throne
and serve him day and night in his Temple.
And he who sits on the throne
will give them shelter.
They will never again be hungry or thirsty;
they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun.
For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”



If today you find yourself down and you can’t get back up, don’t let your pride stand in the way of you getting back up. Call out to the Good Shepherd and let Him be your rescue. Let Him be your strength and your protection no matter what you face. All too often in our pride we decline His help, trying to do it for ourselves, but the one who pays for our stubborn insistence on independence is us. Instead of walking along the path where He leads us, we flail on the ground where we are uncomfortable, scared, and ripe prey for predators. Pride, wanting to do it our own way, is a lonely way to live and as a believer, there is a better way. Jesus has offered Himself as our Good Shepherd, and when we let Him take that role in our lives, we find a path to peace, strength, joy, love, and never being alone in our struggles again.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow -not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39:38