The series I’ve been doing, Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth fills our regular Sunday morning slot, and this week I’ve gone back to another Gaither selection, this one by both Bill and Gloria in 1970. “Because He Lives” is actually one of their better-known hymns, and it arises out of a troublesome season for the couple. Coming out of their experience as it does, the hymn became an encouragement and an inspiration to many who feel the uncertainty of the future with trepidation.
In the late 60s, Bill and Gloria Gaither were dealing with a number of personal struggles. Not only was Bill recovering from mononucleosis, but the couple was blindsided by a close friend’s accusation that they were using their ministry just for profit, which sent Bill into a deep depression. The family had been devastated by the divorce of Bill’s sister Mary Ann. Gloria was expecting their third child, but the couple was saddened by the thought of bringing another child into a world filled with racial tension, drug abuse and negative attitudes toward Christianity. One of Bill’s close friends prayed a simple prayer for them commanding the devil to “back off,” and both Bill and Gloria recall the strength of the Holy Spirit seeming to come to their aid, assuring them that the future, left in God’s hands, would be just fine. Following the birth of a healthy son, Benjamin, in 1970, they wrote this song affirming their ability to “face tomorrow” by leaving tomorrow’s details, cares and concerns with God.
Because He Lives
God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!
And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict’ry,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!