On My Father’s Shoulders

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. 
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:4


This cold Wisconsin winter reminds me of one many years ago when the inland lakes froze early and hard. I was seven or eight then, and I wondered about all the little houses that suddenly appeared on frozen Twin Lake. Dad explained that they were fishing shelters set up to keep the ice fishermen warm. I wondered if it were safe to be sitting in one of those shelters in the middle of the lake. What if the ice weren’t thick enough and the shelter fell through?

One day, Dad invited me to go ice fishing with him. I don’t think it was entirely his idea. Mom had other plans that sunny Saturday morning, and Dad didn’t want to give up his weekly date with the fish. So Dad and I headed out to Twin Lake. When we got there, Dad pulled his shelter out of the car’s trunk. He didn’t have an ice shelter as grand as those ramshackle wooden ones on the lake. His was a portable canvas tent, small, army khaki and enclosed on three sides, more of a windbreaker than a shelter. With it still folded and in its case, Dad put his shelter on my Flexible Flyer sled, and we headed toward the ice. When we got to the edge, I froze. The only person I knew of who had successfully walked across water was Jesus, and only He could do things like that.

“What’s the matter?” Dad asked.

“I don’t want to step on it,” I told him.

He held my mittened hand and gently tried to pull me onto the ice. I resisted. “What if we fall through?”

“We won’t fall through,” he promised. “The ice is nice and thick.”

Then, seeing that I wasn’t going anywhere, he hoisted me up onto his strong shoulders and carried me onto the frozen water.

In a little while, it didn’t matter to me anymore that the shoreline seemed far away. Dad knew that the ice would hold us, and he was there to protect me. I felt safe riding on my father’s shoulders all the way to the middle of the lake.

Dad died a few years ago, and along with him died a sense of security that I’d known since childhood. Dad—always my protector.

In Psalm 121 verses 1 through 8, the psalmist writes: “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” These are wise words to remember when we worry that we’re walking on thin ice. God is our protector! When we stop short, frozen with fear, He picks us up and carries us safely on His shoulders.


Heavenly Father, When the ground we walk on seems unstable, we trust that you won’t let us fall. You made us. You will sustain us and carry us whenever we are afraid. Thank you, Father, for lifting us up onto your strong, capable shoulders and protecting us from harm. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “On My Father’s Shoulders

  1. Hi Jean -Thank you so much for these encouraging words. Both scriptures spoke to my heart. I've written them down and will read them again later.Change isn't always comfortable, but we can depend on Him.Blessings,Susan 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing the memories of your father and the scriptures and reminder about our Heavenly Father, Jean.

  3. Hey, I just came across your blog by doing a bit of blog-surfing and I'm glad I did! I've added myself as your newest follower and I hope you'll check out my Christian devotional site as well: http://www.nocondemnation81.blogspot.comHave a blessed day!In Christ,Dakota

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