Hymn History: Day By Day - Enjoying the Journey
“Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” – Deuteronomy 33:25
We are thrilled to share a series of brief accounts of how some of the great hymns of our faith were written. Each synopsis has been compiled through the research of Jerry Vargo and is shared by permission. It is our hope that these stories will be a help and encouragement to your Christian walk. This week we read the story of a truly moving and faith-filled hymn, “Day By Day.”
Carolina Sandell was the daughter of a Lutheran pastor in Froderyd, Sweden, and was very close to her father. As a child she spent her hours playing quietly in her father’s study as he worked on sermons. She was born on October 3, 1832. She grew up to become Sweden’s most celebrated author of Gospel hymns, and she wrote so many that she is often called “the Fanny Crosby of Sweden.” During her lifetime she wrote over 650 hymns.
Like many Christians, Carolina learned that when pain and tragedy strike, God may use that experience to deepen our faith. When she was 26, Carolina, or Lina (pronounced Lie-nah) as she liked to be called, experienced a tragedy which profoundly affected the course of her life. She was with her father on a ferry boat crossing Lake Vattern in Sweden. They were on the outer deck leaning against the rail enjoying the beauty of the day. Suddenly the ship lurched, and before her eyes, her father was thrown overboard and drowned before anyone could attempt to rescue him.
She wrote this hymn shortly after this event. You can see in the words how dependent she was on the Lord to carry her through this tragedy. Lina had written hymns before, but now she poured out her broken heart in an endless stream of beautiful songs. Her hymns mightily influenced the revival that swept across Scandinavia after 1850. Of all her hymns, this is the one for which she is most known.
Her words reflect the meditations of her own heart:
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. 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 Counsellor 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 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 with Christ the Lord I stand.