By Holly Scheer
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 God his own shall tend and nourish;
in his holy courts they flourish.
From all evil powers he spares them;
in his mighty arms he bears them.
3 Neither life nor death shall ever
from the Lord his children sever;
for to them his grace revealing,
he turns sorrow into healing.
4 God has given, he has taken,
but his children ne’er forsaken;
his the loving purpose solely
to preserve them pure and holy.
This hymn is one that I sing often to my children. My five year old in particular requests it frequently before bed. The words and the tune together are beautiful and soothing.
I’ve been continuing my slow progress through researching the history of hymns and their writers and I’d like to share what I found about this one.
Children of the Heavenly Father was written by Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell. She was born in Fröderyd, Småland, Sweden on October 3, 1832. And this part was totally new to me- she was born in the parsonage of the church because her father was a Lutheran pastor.
Her father tragically drowned in front of her and this grief started her prolific hymn writing career. She’s credited with writing an amazing 650 hymns!
This hymn in particular is really well known in the English world. It appears in more than 70 different hymnals.
Knowing that this hymn was written by a Lutheran woman endears it just a little more to me. Writing in times of sorrow is something that many of us can identify with, and her writing has brought a really sweet song to our homes and churches.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26
Read more about Berg and the history of this hymn and her other work here.