Hymn Story

Children of the Heavenly Father

Hymn lists
by book of Bible

Lina Sandell, the author of this hymn, was a Lutheran pastor’s daughter in Froderyd, Sweden.  She was a “daddy’s girl”––very close to her father.  As a child, she enjoyed playing quietly in her father’s study as he worked.

Lina began writing hymns at an early age.  Then, when she was 26 years old, tragedy struck.  She and her father were passengers in a boat crossing Lake Vattern when the boat lurched and her father fell overboard.  As Lina watched in horror, her father drowned before anyone could mount a rescue effort.

When tragedy strikes, some people allow it to destroy them, but Lina’s faith saw her through the tragedy.  Her grief gave her music a new depth and sensitivity.

During her lifetime, Lina wrote 650 hymns.  “Children of the Heavenly Father” is the one that is most familiar to English-speaking congregations.  Many people will also recognize the hymn that begins with the words, “Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here”––a hymn of quiet assurance.

The hymn, “Children of the Heavenly Father,” offers that same kind of quiet assurance.  It speaks of resting safely in the father’s bosom––of the Father tending and nourishing his children and protecting them from evil.

Listen to this verse, and imagine Lina thinking of her father’s death as she wrote it.  “Neither life nor death shall ever/ From the Lord His children sever;/ Unto them His grace He showeth,/ And their sorrows all He knoweth.”

Copyright 2007, Richard Niell Donovan