For the last few weeks my wife has been working on an arrangement of this week's hymn to use as an offertory in church in a few weeks. So during this time the words and the beautiful Sweedish melody of this great old hymn have been ringing in my mind. What a comfort to be reminded that we who have accepted the Gospel are now children of the Heavenly Father. We are reminded of that in 1 John 3:1, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." The text was written by Carolina Vilhelmina Sandell Berg (1832-1903). The daughter of a Swedish Lutheran minister, she was stricken with a paralysis as a young child that confined her to bed with little chance for recovery. But by age twelve she had improved so that she was able to walk. From this experience she began writing verses to express her gratitude to God, and at age sixteen she published her first book of poems. "Children Of The Heavenly Father" is one of her most famous hymn texts However, there is some disagreement as to why and when it was written. When LIna was twenty-three, she accompanied her father on a boat trip and watched as he fell from the boat and drowned right before her eyes. Some think that was the inspiration for the lyrics. Others believe it came from her teenage years, perhaps around 1848, as a testimony to the spiritual upbringing that she received in her home. It was first published in her 1855 work "Andeliga Daggdroppar". During her lifetime, Lina wrote 650 hymns. The hymn, "Children of the Heavenly Father," offers a 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. For those of us whose fathers are no longer alive, it is a special comfort to know that we have a loving Father who will never leave us.
Children of the Heavenly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e'er was given.
God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.
Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.
Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne'er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.
Lo, their very hairs He numbers,
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev'ry blessing
And His help in woes distressing.
Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:
Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your Defender
Ev'ry foeman must surrender.
Listen to it here. LISTEN