The beloved song Because He Lives was written by William (Bill) and Gloria Gaither. Born in Alexandria, Indiana in 1936, Bill Gaither was the son of George and Lela Gaither. Following his graduation from Anderson College in 1956, Bill worked for a while as an English Teacher. Gloria was born Gloria Lee Sickal in 1942 in Michigan, the daughter of Pastor Lee Sickal and Dorothy Sickal. Like Bill, Gloria graduated from Anderson University in Indiana, and taught French at Alexandria Monroe High School, the same school where Bill was teaching. Because He Lives, one of their best known hymns, was written in 1970 during a time of stress and trial in their lives.
As told by Gloria Gaither: “When Bill and I started our family in the sixties, racial tensions were tearing the country apart. Civil rights activists had suffered and some had been killed. The Vietnam conflict was claiming thousands of lives and tensions boiled over on university campuses. Many young people were growing disillusioned and were dropping out. But in the fall of 1969, several things happened to test the reality of our own convictions. We realized we were expecting another baby. Though we had always intended to have another child, we weren’t planning on a baby so soon. My body hadn’t quite recovered from the last pregnancy. Making matters worse, Bill contracted mononucleosis, which left him exhausted and depressed. This combination of national turmoil and personal trouble discouraged us, and we occasionally asked each other: ‘If this world is like this now, what will it be in fifteen or sixteen years for our baby? What will this child face?’ While pondering and praying about these things, we came to realize anew that our courage doesn’t come from a stable world, for the world has never been stable. Jesus Himself was born in the cruelest of times. No, we have babies, raise families and risk living because the Resurrection is true!” [This is a quote from “Then Sings My Soul, Book 2” by Robert J. Morgan]
Bill and Gloria founded the Gaither Music Company, The Bill Gaither Trio, and other successful Christian activities. The couple still lives in Alexandria, Indiana, and they have three grown children. Over the years, the Gaithers have written over 700 songs so far. Because He Lives has become a favorite hymn sung in Christian churches in America and other countries regularly during their worship services.
I post this song in honor of my friend, Jane, who died in 1998. It was her favorite song.
You can hear this song sung by the Gaither Vocal Band:
Lyrics to 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.
How sweet to hold a new born baby,
and to feel the pride and joy it gives.
But greater still is the calm assurance
this child can face uncertain days
because He lives.
And then one day I’ll cross that 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 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.
Because I know He holds the future
and life is worth the living
Just because He lives!