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Updated 05/29/2013


Children of the Heavenly Father

Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell-Berg
"Children of the Heavenly Father" was composed by Lina Sandell (full name: Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell-Berg) (October 3, 1832 - July 27, 1903), 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. Oskar Ahnfelt played his guitar and sang Lina's hymns throughout Scandinavia. She once said that Ahnfelt sang her songs "Into the hearts of the people". Even Jenny Lind, the world famous concert vocalist, visited factories and sang Lina's beautiful hymns. Sandell is known as the Fanny Crosby of Sweden. In 1867 Lina married C.O. Berg, a Stockholm Merchant, and thus became Lina Sandell-Berg. She continued to initial her hymns "L.S". Sandell wrote 650 hymns. Sandell died July 27, 1903 in Stockholm, Sweden. She is buried in Solna Kyrkogård - Cemetery, Solna, Stockholmn Län, Sweden.

Oskar Ahnfelt


The lyrics were translated from Swedish to English by Ernst William Olson.  Olson’s family emigrated to Amer­i­ca in 1875. He at­tend­ed Au­gus­ta­na Coll­ege in Rock Is­land, Il­li­nois. He worked for Swed­ish news­pa­pers, and for a pub­lish­er in Chi­ca­go, and then be­came ed­i­tor of the Augustana Book Con­cern (1911-1949). He wrote four orig­in­al hymns, and trans­la­ted al­most 30 more. He was a mem­ber of the Au­gus­ta­na Hymn­al Com­mit­tee, which pub­lished its Hymn­al and Or­der of Ser­vice in 1925, and was a mem­ber of the Joint Com­mis­sion on a Com­mon Hymn­al, which led to the pub­li­ca­tion of the Ser­vice Book and Hymn­al in 1958. In 1948, the King of Swe­den made Ol­son a knight of the Roy­al Or­der of Vasa.

The melody is Tryg­gare Kan Ing­en Va­ra, a Swed­ish melody, ar­ranged by Os­kar Ahn­felt (1813-1882).  Sweden’s “Spiritual Troubadour,” Ahn­felt com­posed or ar­ranged the mu­sic for all of Li­na San­dell’s hymns. Like San­dell, he was a Pi­e­tist and tra­veled through­out Scan­di­na­via sing­ing her hymns, ac­com­pa­ny­ing him­self with a 10 string gui­tar. The state church op­posed pi­e­tis­tic hymns and or­dered Ahn­felt to sing them be­fore King Karl XV. After hear­ing them, the king said, “You may sing as much as you de­sire in both of my king­doms.” He sang them so much that San­dell wrote, “Ahn­felt has sung my songs into the hearts of the peo­ple.” Jen­ny Lind, the Swed­ish Night­ing­ale, was al­so a Pi­e­tist and pop­u­lar­ized Sandell’s hymns in Amer­i­ca and wher­e­ver she sang. She al­so fi­nanced the first ed­i­tion of Ahnfelt’s songs, con­sist­ing most­ly of San­dell’s hymns.

Lyrics by Lina Sandell


Children of the heav’nly 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.