Updated: May 3, 2020
Swedish: Blott en Dag
Text: Lina Sandell (1832-1903) TUNE: Oskar Ahnfelt (18
1 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.
2. Ev’ry 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.
3. Help me then in ev’ry tribulation
So to trust thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,
Offered me within your 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.
Tr. A. Skoog
You can hoard toilet paper, but you cannot hoard grace. The Israelites discovered
this wandering in the desert. They received enough manna from heaven every day. If they
hoarded it, however, it would go bad. God sees that we receive just what we need every day. A cup that is full cannot receive more.
It was this truth that moved Lina Sandell to write this hymn. She wrote it after
seeing a tale in an English Sunday school magazine she had read in the mid 1860s. A
big grandfather’s clock sat in the parlor, ticking away. Suddenly the pendulum said,
“I can’t do this anymore. Back and forth, back and forth, billions of times, again and
again. It is too much.”
The hour hand heard the complaint and thought about it for a bit and then replied,
“But you only have to do so one more time. You can do that.”
One more time seemed doable, as opposed to worrying about being able to do so
billions more times. The pendulum would receive strength for that one more time
over and over again.
Jesus said the same in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:34, when he consoled
the anxious, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for
itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Or as the Norwegian proverb has it,
“Den dag, den sorg.” (that day, that sorrow.)
Sandell, who wrote “Children of the Heavenly Father” (See Hymnblog 4), wrote this
in 1865 when she was working as a young single woman in Stockholm. Her gifts,
apparent to all, gave the Swedish pastors who knew her courage to recommend
against all conventional thinking that she work at the publishing house of the
Rosenius revival, Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen.
She knew her Lord well enough to know that grace is given in full measure every
day and replenished as need be. She had plenty to worry about with her own poor
health and the struggles of her siblings with the illness and deaths of their own. She
trusted the promise in Deuteronomy 33:25, “As thy day is, so shall thy strength be.”
Even as we fret about what might be coming, and say with the pendulum, It is too
much, Sandell shows us we can be thankful for “faith’s sweet consolation Offered in
God’s Holy Word,” the storehouse from which God provides. As we close each day,
we can remark with gratitude and surprise how we have received consolations, one
by one, from our Father, exactly enough for the day.
The Swedish Troubadour Oskar Ahnfelt (1811-) pestered Sandell for texts, fortunately. This
tune sings with the confident sweet beauty that helped to make the hymn one of the most beloved hymns in Scandinavia and in America.
English choir version—with Skoog’s translation. I am using this for copyright
reasons. It is also the closest to the original.
Carola in Swedish with Iver Kleive on keyboard
Aage Kvalbein and Kleive in a cello and piano version