Because He Lives

On New Year’s Eve 1970, Gloria Gaither sat alone in the dark quiet of her family living room in Alexandria, Indiana. It had been a difficult year.

Gloria’s husband Bill was still recovering from a long and exhausting bout of mononucleosis. Problems in their church had led to divisions and personal attacks against them. It was the height of the Vietnam War. The drug culture was in full swing. Racial tensions divided the country.

And Gloria was pregnant.

Both she and her husband wondered openly about the wisdom of bringing a child into such a world. Gloria later wrote, “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?’”

As she sat alone in the dark, her thoughts soon turned to Jesus’ resurrection. “Gradually, the fear left,” Gloria recounts, “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.”

Gloria Gaither soon put her confidence to words, and together with her husband Bill, composed a song which has become one of the most popular hymns of the 20th century: “Because He Lives.”

“God sent his Son, they call 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.”

Jesus’ resurrection is our confidence. Because he lives, we know that God the Father accepted his payment for our sins. Because he lives, we can be sure God forgives us. Because he lives, we can be sure we will live with him one day in heaven.

“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.”

Because Jesus lives, we don’t ever have to be afraid. He conquered sin and death for us. He rose and now rules over all things for our good. As sinful human beings, we worry and fret about many things. But we don’t need to. Because Jesus lives, you and I can’t lose.

On July 12, 1971, Gloria Gaither gave birth to her first son, Benjy. Gloria, however, no longer worried about her infant son’s future.

“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.”

You and I were born into the same uncertain world into which Benjy Gaither was born. Wars still rage. Our country is still divided. Illnesses plague our families and divisions plague our churches. But we don’t have to be afraid. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow.

“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.”

Our peace and confidence in the middle of the storm is that Jesus lives. He conquered sin and death. He now rules over all things for our good. One day he will take us out of the dark storm into the warm, comforting light of his presence. How do I know?

Because he lives.