Because He Lives – The Story Behind The Hymn

In the late 1960s, while expecting their third child, Bill and Gloria Gaither were going through a rather traumatic time
in their lives.

Bill was recovering his strength from a bout with mononucleosis. They, along with their church, were the objects of accusation and belittlement.
Gloria was experiencing a time of
torment, including fear of the future and of bringing children
into such a crazy, mixed-up world.

As Gloria sat alone in a darkened living room, tormented,
and fearful, the Lord sent a calm and peaceful rest to her. The power of the resurrection of
Christ seemed to affirm itself in their lives once again. Gloria remembers the realization that it
was LIFE conquering death in the
regularity of my day. The joy seemed to overcome and take
precedent over frightening human circumstances.

And the song Because He Lives came out of their personal bout with darkness:

Because He Lives
(1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) 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.

(4) 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 victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know he lives.

~Origin of Because He Lives (2)
I am a wife and a mother. It was in the middle of the upheaval in the sixties that we were expecting our third baby.

The drug culture was in full swing, existential thought had obviously saturated every area of our American thought, the cities
were seething with racial tension, and the God-is-dead pronouncement had giggled its way all through our educational system.

On the personal front, Bill and I were going through one of
the most difficult times in our
lives. Bill had been discouraged
and physically exhausted by a
bout with mononucleosis, and in
that weakened condition had
little reserve to fight the psychological battle brought on
by some external family problems. Someone whom we
had cared about a great deal had
hurled some accusations at us
and at the Fellowship of Believers and at the whole idea of the
existence of God.

It was on New Year’s Eve that I sat alone in the darkness and
quiet of our living room, thinking
about the world and our country
and Bill’s discouragement and
the family problems—and about
our baby yet unborn. Who in their right mind would bring a
child into a world like this? I thought, The world is so evil.
Influences beyond our control are so strong. What will happen
to this child?

I can’t quite explain what happened at that moment, but
suddenly I felt released from it all.
The panic that had begun to build inside was gently dispelled
by a reassuring presence that
engulfed my life and drew my attention.

Gradually, the fear left and the joy began to return. I knew I
could have that baby and face the future with optimism and
trust. It was the Resurrection
affirming itself in our lives once again. It was LIFE conquering
death in the regularity of my day.


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