At age 26, Lina was enjoying a boat trip near Gothenburg with her beloved father who was a Lutheran minister. The vessel suddenly lurched which caused her father, Jonas Sandell, to fall overboard. Tragically he drowned before Lina’s very eyes. Lina, ran to the Word of God and poured out her grief and broken heart in poetry. In that year, 1858, she had no less than14 poems published. Seven years later, Day by Day was published in which the reader can see the depth of the Word of God hidden in her heart and the reality of God’s promises known to her personally.
Oskar Ahnfelt, who wrote many of the melodies for Lina’s poems, was more than a musician. He was a travelling evangelist and revivalist of the 19th century, who played his guitar and sang spiritual songs to the people of Sweden. He was known as a ‘spiritual troubadour (a wandering musician)’. Lina said of him that he sang, “…my songs into the hearts of the people.”
Early 20th century author, E.E. Ryden tells us,
“King Karl XV, ruler of the united kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, was petitioned to forbid Ahnfelt’s preaching and singing. The monarch refused until he had had an opportunity to hear the “Spiritual troubadour.” Ahnfelt was commanded to appear at the royal palace. Being considerably perturbed in mind as to what he should sing to the king, he besought Lina Sandell to write a hymn for the occasion. She was equal to the task and within a few days the song was ready, With his guitar under his arm and the hymn in his pocket, Ahnfelt repaired to the palace and sang:
Who is it that knocketh upon your heart’s door in peaceful eve?
Who is it that brings to the wounded and sore the balm that can heal and relieve?
Your heart is still restless, it findeth no peace in Earth’s pleasures;
Your soul is still yearning it seeketh release to rise to the Heavenely treasures.
The king listened with tears in his eyes. When Ahnfelt had finished, the monarch gripped him by the hand and exclaimed: “You may sing as much as you like in both of my kingdoms!” [The Story of Our Hymns, by E. E. Ryden, 1930]. The kingdom of Sweden and Norway experienced true Revival in the 1860s. Lina Berg died at age 70 and is buried near Stockholm.