Life can be a challenge. Marriages, children, finances, employment, illness, death and loss — all of these things can be a daily difficulty to get through and see God working in the circumstances. More than once I’ve said the phrase one day at a time when my mind could not find the strength to think about anything more than what was right in front of me. The author of this Story Behind the Song’ beautifully penned words of finding daily strength and trust in God during such difficult moments.
Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell was born October 3, 1832 in Sweden, the daughter of Lutheran pastor Jonas Sandell. Little ‘Lina’ as she became known was ill as a child and spent many hours with her father in his study. Lina published her first book of poems when she was 15.
When Lina was 26, she accompanied her father on a boat trip across Lake Vattern to reach Goteborg, Sweden. During the journey, the ship suddenly lurched, and Lina’s father fell overboard and drowned as Lina helplessly watched.
From that tragedy, many hymns were born from Lina’s broken heart. She wrote over 650 songs and hymns that heavily influenced the revival that swept through Scandinavia after 1850. Lina became known as the Fanny Crosby of Sweden.
Out of all the hymns that Lina wrote, ‘Day by Day’ and ‘Children of the Heavenly Father’ were translated into English and became very well known in the U.S. Day by Day was written in 1865, and the music was composed by Oscar Ahnfelt in 1872. The original title in Swedish is “Blott en Day,” meaning just one day or just another day. In Sweden, the hymn is popular at funerals.
Lina married Oscar Berg in 1867. They lived in Stockholm. Lina and Oscar’s only child, a son, died at birth in October of 1868.
Even though married, Lina continued to sign L.S. as the author of her hymns.
Lina passed away on July 27, 1903 at the age of 70. Her husband passed away that same year due to complications of diabetes.
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.
Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He Whose Name is Counselor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.
Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.
For a young woman who had so much difficulty and tragedy in her life, she found peace and contentment in God. I pray the same for you today, that whatever you are facing, you will trust His promises and lean on His strength, mercy and grace to guide you and give you peace, day by day.
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