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.
Words by Karolina W. Sandell-Berg
Music: Traditional Swedish Melody
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9 – 11
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
I John 3:1
We have all been raised with lullabies. Those comforting melodies that we use to put children to sleep, to drive away bad dreams and to let them know they are loved. That in many ways is what we have in “Children of the Heavenly Father.”
Now in the interest of full disclosure, I come from a strong Swedish heritage, and take great pride in it. And this beloved Swedish hymn is tied to that heritage.
A few years ago, I had the privilege to sing this hymn at my Grandfathers funeral, and in true Swedish tradition, I sang it in the original language. Now in all honesty, I don’t speak Swedish. But that did not take away from the beauty of this traditional Swedish melody. When I combine this beautiful relaxing melody, with the meaningful words (in English of course) I begin to see the real beauty of this piece.
You see, one of the real keys to a powerful piece of music is that the music and the words each, individually, communicate the same message. That is the case with “Children of the Heavenly Father.”
As I said, the melody has the rolling feel of a lullaby seeking to sooth a scared child. In this case, we are those scared children, and we need to be reminded that our peace can be found in our Heavenly Father. As we look at the words we see this message revealed.
We see a Heavenly Father who watches over and protects us. We see a Heavenly Father who provides all that His children need. We see a Heavenly Father who can not be separated from His children and knows all they face.
And so I peacefully come to rest in the final words of this hymn, “His loving purpose solely, to preserve them pure and holy.”
Read more about “Children of the Heavenly Father.”