[Guest post by Nicole Bernard: Have there been times in your life when you have been cast down? This is Nicole’s story on learning to depend on our Savior, the great Shephard.] During the summer of 2011 I was well into my pregnancy. One Saturday as I was home alone exercising, I found myself in an awkward position. I’d just finished a series of left-side leg-lifts and attempted to roll over to my right side. I ran into a snag, however. I couldn’t complete the roll, and I found myself stuck on my back. For a few seconds I was amused, but as I rocked back and forth, unable to free myself, the humor faded. I was good and sincerely stuck! That’s when the panic set in. The harder I thrashed, the clearer it became that I was not capable of setting myself right. That’s when I stopped trying. I simply lay on my back, took a deep breath and perhaps offered a quick prayer for release. In that moment the truth dawned on me: I didn’t need to get to my side in order to become unstuck. I only needed to sit straight up. My panic had robbed me of my perspective and common sense. Rolling my eyes at my own foolishness, I sat up. Though many people are familiar with the 23rd Psalm, which declares, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” few people truly understand the significance of that statement, or that many of David’s writings are influenced by his own experiences as a shepherd. That summer my church was working through a series meant to increase our understanding of the psalms. Shortly after my exercising mishap I headed to church, and that evening’s teaching left me mystified. We studied Psalm 43:5 which states:
Different translations substitute the words ‘despair’, or ‘downcast’ in place of ‘cast down’. But the phrase ‘cast down’ has a very specific meaning in shepherd-speak.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” ESV