Children of the Heavenly Father

Full Text

1 Children of the heavenly Father
safely in His bosom gather;
nestling bird nor star in heaven
such a refuge e’er was given.

2 Neither life nor death shall ever
from the Lord His children sever;
unto them His grace He showeth,
and their sorrows all He knoweth.

3 Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne'er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
to preserve them pure and holy.

Source: Celebrating Grace Hymnal #69

Translator: Ernst W. Olson

(no biographical information available about Ernst W. Olson.) Go to person page >

Author: Carolina Sandell

Lina Sandell (full name: Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell-Berg) (October 3, 1832 – July 27, 1903) was a Swedish writer of Gospel hymns. Born Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell in a rectory at Fröderyd, Småland, Sweden. At the age of 26, she went with her father Jonas Sandell, a Lutheran pastor of the Lutheran church in Fröderyd on a boat trip across Lake Vättern to Göteborg, during which he fell overboard and drowned before her eyes. The tragedy affected Lina, inspiring her to write hymns. She wrote hymns and poured out her broken heart in an endless stream of beautiful songs. The popularity of Lina Sandell’s hymns was due to the music written by Oskar Ahnfelt. Oskar Ahnfelt played his guitar and sang Lina's hymns throughout Scandinavia.… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 1-2 = Psalm 84
st. 3 = Rom. 8:38-39
st. 4 = Job 1:21

The author of this text, Caroline W. Sandell Berg (b. Froderyd, Sweden, 1832; d. Stockholm, Sweden, 1903), is better known as Lina Sandell, the "Fanny Crosby of Sweden." Originally in Swedish ("Tryggare kan ingen vara"), the text was first published in Sandell-Berg's Andeliga daggdroppar (1855). Ernst W. Olson (b. Skane, Sweden, 1870; d. Chicago, IL, 1958) prepared the English translation for the 1925 Hymnal of the Lutheran Augustana Synod.

The four-stanza text is a confession of humble but confident trust in God's providence in the lives of his people. It reflects Lord's Day 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism¬–“in life and in death I belong to my faithful Savior.”

"Lina" Wilhelmina Sandell Berg was the daughter of a Lutheran pastor to whom she was very close; she wrote hymns partly to cope with the fact that she witnessed his tragic death by drowning. Many of her 650 hymns were used in the revival services of Carl O. Rosenius, and a number of them gained popularity particularly because of the musical settings written by gospel singer Oskar Ahnfelt. Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish soprano, underwrote the cost of publishing a collection of Ahnfelt's music, Andeliga Sänger (1850), which consisted mainly of Berg's hymn texts.

As editor, writer, poet, and translator, Olson made a valuable contribution to Swedish-American culture and to church music. His family immigrated to Nebraska when he was five years old, but he spent much of his life in the Chicago area. Educated at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, he was editor of several Swedish-American newspapers and spent most of his professional career as an editor for the Augustana , Book Concern (1911-1949). Olson wrote A History of the Swedes in Illinois (1908). He also contributed four original hymns and twenty-eight translations to The Hymnal (1925) of the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod and served on the committee that produced the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal (1958).

Liturgical Use:
As a confession of faith in God's providence; for many other occasions, including baptisms or funerals.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



First associated with this text in Fredrik Engelke's Loftangeroch andeliga wisor (1873), TRYGGARE KAN INGEN VARA is probably a Swedish folk song, but versions of the tune were also sung in Germany in the early 1800s. This charmingly simple tune needs light accompaniment, perhaps just recorders 1 and…

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