1 Children of the heavenly Father
safely in his bosom gather;
nestling bird nor star in heaven
such a refuge e’er was given.
2 God his own shall tend and nourish;
in his holy courts they flourish.
From all evil powers he spares them;
in his mighty arms he bears them.
3 Neither life nor death shall ever
from the Lord his children sever;
for to them his grace revealing,
he turns sorrow into healing.
4 God has given, he has taken,
but his children ne’er forsaken;
his the loving purpose solely
to preserve them pure and holy.
This familiar and well-loved hymn has several important truths embedded in it. First, God’s children are created by God and receive their life from him. This is affirmed in Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 11: “Life is God’s gift to us…”
These children, as well as adults, belong to God, a truth affirmed in the sacrament of infant baptism and professed in confessional statements such as Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 27, Question and Answer 74: “Infants as well as adults are included in God’s covenant…” This comforting truth is also professed in Our Song of Hope, stanza 20: “Christ’s hand reaches out…to infants who live in the atmosphere of faith.”
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 28 says that God will always protect and preserve his children: “All creatures are so completely in God’s hand that without his will they can neither move nor be moved.”