Because He Lives

Words: Gloria Gaither (1942-); Bill Gaither (1936-)

Music: Bill Gaither (1936-)

#407, ’91 Baptist Hymnal

History Behind the Hymn

Information from a 2014 article by Rev. Dan McDowell on oleantimesherald.com and a 2015 article by Lindsey Terry on staugustine.com.

 

Bill and Gloria Gaither have created some of the most popular hymns and southern gospel anthems in the last 50+ years; Gloria writes while Bill composes, and they have produced an overwhleming 700+ songs in their time together. One of the most well-known and popular hymns that they have brought into the world is “Because He Lives”.

Bill and Gloria met while teaching at Alexandria Monroe High School in Alexandria, Indiana. They began to trade ideas about songs and eventually fell in love and married in 1962. Bill had begun the Bill Gaither Trio (predecessor of the world-famous Gaither Vocal Band) a few years previously, which Gloria soon joined.

The 1960s were a tumultuous period for the United States and the world at large. The public education system was being filled with the popular idea that “God is dead”. Racial tensions and drug abuse were on the rise, and in their own family, Bill came down with a severe case of mononucleosis in the winter of 1969. Gloria and other members of their church had also been falsely accused and ostracized. It was around this time that the Gaither’s found out Gloria was pregnant with their third child.

The couple was overjoyed, but grew concerned as they thought about the growing dangers in the world around them. How could they bring a child into this world? Gloria recounts spending New Year’s Eve 1969 in absolute agony and worry, until suddenly, an overwhelming peace covered her, a peace from her Heavenly Father. She was assured that the future is in the hand of the Lord.

Both Bill and Gloria were reminded of the Holy Spirit’s provision and the sovereignty of the Lord after their baby was born, and they began to write the now famous words, “God sent His son…They called him Jesus…”

Lyrics

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.
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.
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 reigns.
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.

Below, Gloria and Bill talk about the creation and significance of “Because He Lives”.

Songs inspired by “Because He Lives”…