We are not heavy


We are not heavy

LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. – Deuteronomy 1:31

Isaiah 46:3-10

 3 Listen to me . . . I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born.

 4 I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.

 5 “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?

 9 Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.

 10 Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.

Father Edward J. Flanagan was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States s in 1904. He was ordained a priest He had a vision for changing how America cared for its children and families. He worked to close reformatories and other juvenile facilities where children were routinely abused and literally held as prisoners. He believed that children had the right to be valued, to have the basic necessities of life, and to be protected. On December 12, 1917, he founded Boys Town. It was originally called Father Flanagan’s Boys Home℠. In 1921 Flanagan established Boys Town ten miles west of Omaha. It became a large community with its own boy-mayor, schools, chapel, post office, gym, and other facilities.

Boys Town accepted all boys, regardless of their race, creed, or cultural background. Father Flanagan attempted to provide every child a new start in life. He sought out the neediest and most helpless – even boys imprisoned for serious crimes.

In 1918, a boy named Howard Loomis was dumped off and abandoned by his mother at Boys Town. Howard had been stricken with polio and wore heavy leg braces. Walking was difficult. It was grueling for him to go up or down steps. Soon, several of the Home’s older boys began to carry Howard up and down the stairs.

One day, Father Flanagan asked Reuben Granger, one of those older boys, if carrying Howard was hard.

Reuben replied, “He ain’t heavy, Father. . .. he’s m’ brother.” Later, these words were modified to, “He ain’t heavy, Mister . . .. He’s m’ brother.”

These iconic words came to symbolize the spirit of Boys Town. The motto is still the best description of what boys and girls at Boys Town learn about the importance of caring for each other and having someone care about them.

At some point in our lives, metaphorically speaking most everyone needs to be carried by someone. Most of us have also chosen to carry somebody else. We all stumble and need help from each other when we do.

Who has carried you? The Father has carried us since we were born and He will carry us to the end of our days on planet Earth.

We are not heavy; we are His beloved children.

Isaiah 46:3-4

 3 Listen to me . . . I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born.

 4 I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.

Isaiah 46:4 was the inspiration for a stanza for “How Firm a Foundation” that is usually omitted from our hymnals:

E’en down to old age, all My people shall prove,

My sovereign, eternal unchangeable love;

And then when grey hairs shall their temples adorn,

Like lambs, they shall still in My bosom be borne.” (Wiersbe).

What a remarkable promise! “Normally, we expect that as children reach maturity, they do not need to be carried any longer. Furthermore, there usually comes a time when the child must begin to carry the aged parent. This is where God transcends the imagery. There will never come a time when we outgrow our dependence on God. We are as dependent on God in old age as we were when we were infants” (Oswald).


“Ever since Isaiah, men have been aware that one of the vital distinctions between true religion and false is that whereas the latter is a dead burden for the soul to carry, the former is a living power to carry the soul” (James S. Stewart).

Father thank You for carrying me all these many years and Your wonderful promise to carry me for the rest of them.


Isaiah 46:3-4 applies to each child of the King in a very personal way. It becomes more important as we age. On the one hand, we look forward to our retirement in the sky. But on the other hand, we also face the harsh realities of aloneness, decline, and incapacitation which frequently accompany our declining years.

The Father is pointedly trying to get our attention. He emphatically says, “Listen to Me . . ..” It is as though He is saying, “I been with you all these years, I will be with you to the end. Yet, in all this time you hardly got to know Me.”

The Father emphatically states His promise to all children of the King to make it crystal clear. He is there for us throughout our lives. He made us and will care for us. He will carry us and save us even in old age.

Isaiah 46:4 I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.

Rather than allowing the Father God to carry them, people make idols which they must carry. What possible good is an idol that is carried by people, but carries no one? It is simply dead weight.

Isaiah 46:7 They carry it around on their shoulders, and when they set it down, it stays there. It can’t even move! And when someone prays to it, there is no answer. It can’t rescue anyone from trouble.

When we attempt to compare the Father God with man-made gods, there is no comparison at all. How foolish to even begin to try.

“The creation of humans and are subject to all the limitations of time and space. He is the Creator of humans – and all else – and is limited by nothing” (Oswald).

In the end, all analogies within the creation fall short. “No analogy, and no combination of analogies, can adequately describe His greatness” (ESV, Notes).

There never was nor will there be a time when the Father ever needs to lean upon us. He is the great self-existed, self-dependent “I AM” (Exodus 3:13, 14). He is transcendent and above all changes, limitations, in time and space itself.

We are not heavy; we are His beloved children.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream. I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.

“Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

Many of you receive a copy of the Reflection in your email.

Often after it is published, I review it one more time and tweak it.

To read the most up-to-date version, please click on the title.


2 thoughts on “We are not heavy

  1. “We Are Not Heavy” is – to coin a phrase – chicken soup for the soul.
    In times when our personal circumstances and the demands of modern life so easily create feelings of incompetence and anxiety even in the Father’s children, what a relief and comfort it is to turn the thoughts to those “everlasting arms” of Deuteronomy 33:27, that will never weary of carrying us along through it all!
    Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.


  2. What a great way to state a great truth!
    Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.


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