White waves churned from under the large boat as it sailed across the large lake in Sweden, on its way to the city of Gothenburg. Standing at the rail of the ship, Pastor Jonas Sandell and his daughter gazed at the view. They had always shared a close, loving relationship. As a child, his daughter Lina had been sickly and often stayed in her father’s study while all the other children played outside. Not only did those hours together build a special bond between them, but through her father’s tender, loving example, she learned to know the sweet compassion and care of her Heavenly Father. As she grew older, she became her father’s secretary, and for that reason she was accompanying him on this peaceful boat trip.
In a single moment, however, her world changed. With a sudden jolt, the boat lurched. In horror, the young woman saw her beloved father abruptly lose his balance, totter, and fall overboard! The sailors did all they could, but they were too late. By the time they pulled Pastor Sandell’s body out of the water, he had drowned.
What a sudden, terrible grief—especially for someone as close to her father as Miss Sandell had been. Heartbroken, she traveled home alone. Many people would have been crushed to lose someone so dear. Some might have become bitter or lost their faith. But because this young woman’s father had pointed her to Christ and His love, she looked to Him and found perfect comfort and consolation. Comforted in this grievous loss by Christ’s sufficiency, she began to write. That year alone, she wrote fourteen poems speaking of Christ and His loving care:
Children of the Heav’nly Father,
Safely in His bosom gather;
Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever.
But perhaps her most famous poem was written six years later:
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
In 1867, Lina Sandell married and became Mrs. Berg. In later years, Mrs. Berg became known as “the Fanny Crosby of Sweden” for the multitude of her hymns and the blessing they were to so many people. Gentleness is “showing personal care and concern in meeting the needs of others.” Because Mrs. Berg had experienced the loving nurture and care of both her father and her Heavenly Father, she was able to use her gift of poetry to bring great comfort and hope to others.