By Dr Leonard A
BILL and Gloria Gaither are known for writing and producing such songs as “He Touched Me,” “Something Beautiful,” “Let’s Just Praise the Lord,” and “The King is Coming” among others. Another of the over 400 songs written by this musical duo that strikes a responsive chord in many is “Because He Lives.”
Since 1970, its lyrics have engendered hope and assurance, and at this special time in Christendom such emotions are even more potent, as the song speaks to the certainty of Christ’s resurrection.
The timing and occasion of the writing of “Because He Lives” was characterised by great turmoil due to the prevailing drug culture. And if that were not enough, the Vietnam War was being waged. Also, it was at this time that Benjy, their first son, was born. With two girls already and now a son, the Gaithers wondered about the turbulent times.
Uncertain and somewhat discouraged about what was happening during the period of the late 60s and the beginning of the 70s, they were inspired to pen the words: “How sweet to hold our newborn baby and feel the pride and joy he gives, but better still the calm assurance this child can face uncertain days because He lives.”
So heartened and reassured, they reasoned that because Christ lives, they and their children could embrace the future unafraid.
Given the difficulties and uncertainties of the present, we, too, may be fearful about what lies ahead. But, just like Bill and Gloria did, we need to find solace in the fact that we “can face uncertain days (with some assurance) because Christ Jesus lives.”
Not only is He alive, He is here and everywhere, supplying grace, forgiveness, eternal life, and strength to overcome our daily struggles. And there is more: He is capable of supplying our every need just because He lives! Let me explain.
of the present
We all love the feeling of confidence derived from knowing that there is someone who knows the way or understands a situation we are about to face. Realising that we are not alone and that we have some indication as to how the matter is likely to turn out reassures and gives a sense of calmness. We have that assurance in Christ. The writer of the book of Hebrews noted, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin” (Hebrews 4:15, The Message). Is it any wonder that in the next verse we are given the invitation, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV)?
Few would deny that these are the days that require the help of one who knows the times and what to do. That person is definitely Christ. As God, He knows everything! He is all-powerful and, as noted already, possesses everything we need or could ever need! Essentially, He is in control, for nothing takes Him by surprise. The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians contends, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17, NKJV). Christ is alive and now intercedes on our behalf before His Father, and, therefore, like Bill and Gloria Gaither, we can face the present and the future with certainty “Because He lives.”
It is a known fact that if one can find meaning or a reason to live, he or she is likely to shun despair and suicide. It is when a person perceives that there is no reason to live that he feels inclined to let go and quit, but with Christ infusing hope one now has a different outlook. What once seemed dismal and gloomy now appears to be optimistic and promising. Although the situation is still likely to be the same, looking unto Christ changes a person’s viewpoint or attitude toward his or her seemingly hopeless condition.
As one who has had many challenges and who continues to face daily hurdles, I have discovered that the secret to rising above them is keeping my focus on Christ and trusting in His promises. Indeed, the advice found in these words of the hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” is worth heeding: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Maybe this explains why some persons who know not Christ view Christians as being weird people; for they question, how can they be so cheerful or positive in such tough economic times with these imposed new taxes? How can they still praise the Lord when they have been laid off or diagnosed with cancer? Truth be told, it is not the Christian, it is Christ and His resurrection.
Like Bill and Gloria Gaither declared, “Because He Lives, we, too, can live.”
Inspired writer Ellen White encourages all Christians to “spend a thoughtful hour in prayer each day on the life of Christ especially the closing scenes which take in the resurrection.” In the face of the increasingly tumultuous times, this hour of prayerful reflection will certainly give one inner peace and quiet joy. Therefore, I ask that you read about and meditate on the life of Christ and rejoice in His resurrection, recognizing that “Because He Lives, you can face (today and) tomorrow.”