Young Karolina had a special relationship with her father, Jonas Sandell. Karolina was a weak and frail child who took comfort and solace in her father’s strength. When other children were outside playing, she preferred to sit with her father in his study where he prepared his sermons.

Jonas Sandell was a Lutheran pastor in southern Sweden. He was a faithful pastor, a loving husband, and a kind and good father who gave his daughter Karolina, whom he called “Lina” a beautiful picture of the loving care of the Father in Heaven.

Lina was afflicted by a partial paralysis, and although her loving parents had taken her to the most skillful physicians in Sweden, the doctors told them sadly that the girl had no chance for a complete recovery. She was not able to walk without assistance, and had to be cared for and dressed by her parents. Lina was content with her lot in life, and rested in the fact that she was under the care of the Great Physician Who “does all things well.”

One day when she was 12 years old, Lina was not feeling well and stayed home from church. Her parents walked from the parsonage to the church where Jonas delivered his sermon. After the service, the parents walked home to behold an astonishing sight. Their daughter, Lina, had dressed herself and was walking freely! She had no explanation for her parents except that God had cured her and made her well.

After this memorable experience of the power of divine healing, Lina began to experiment with poetical verses in an effort to give God the thanks for His mercy to her. From a young age, it was evident that God had gifted her with an ability to express herself with the pen. Lina published her first book of poetry when she was only 16.

Her trust in God in spite of trials is reflected in one of her most beloved poems: “Blott en dag”. It is known in English as “Day by Day.”

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.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best-
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Little did Karolina know that God was preparing her for one of the greatest trials that a loving daughter could ever endure.

Into her twenties, Karolina continued to live at home with her parents, serving as her father’s secretary and helper. She continued to write poetry, eventually writing almost seven hundred! When Lina was twenty-six years old, she accompanied her father on a boat ride across Lake Vattern, one of the most beautiful and iconic lakes in all of Sweden. A lovely outing with her father turned into tragedy when Pastor Jonas Sandell lost his balance and fell overboard into the lake. There was nothing that Lina could do, and she watched her father struggling in the water until he drowned before her eyes.

Stockholm, Sweden

Such a tragic experience could have caused Lina to lose heart, but her faith in her Heavenly Father remained firm and constant. Another of her beloved poems, “Trygarre kan ingen vara” expresses the loving trust of a child in a wise and kind Father:

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.

Tho’ He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

Lina was married at the age of thirty-five to Oscar Berg, a statesman who was a member of the Parliament of Sweden. The Lord blessed them with one child, but the baby was taken from them at birth. The words of Lina’s hymns gave strength and comfort to bear yet another sorrow with trust and submission.

Lina lived to the age of seventy. By the time of her death in 1903, her hymns were sung not only in Scandinavia, but all across Europe and in places as far away as the United States and Australia.

Lina was an active participant in the religious revival that swept through Sweden in the 1850s and 60s, and closely tied to the Pietists who were involved in this revival. Some of the ecclesiastical leaders of the established church were skeptical of the evangelical emphasis of the new preaching and the new hymns, and they petitioned the king to ban the preaching of evangelical ministers like Carl Rosenius and Oscar Ahnfelt. Called into the king’s presence, Oscar Ahnfelt sang one of Lina’s hymns. With tears in his eyes the king said, “You may sing as much as you like in both of my kingdoms!”

Lina Sandell-Berg died of typhoid fever at the age of 70. She must have rejoiced to be united again with her earthly father in the “holy courts” of her Heavenly Father.