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Because He Lives: Story Behind the Song

″… because I live, ye shall live also.” – John 14:19

The subject of this story is one of the most popular songs written by Bill and Gloria Gaither. In an interview several years ago, Gloria related to me the events surrounding the writing of “Because He Lives.”

When both Gloria Sickal and Bill Gaither were single and teaching in Alexandria Monroe High School in Alexandria, Ind., they met and began to share ideas about songs. Gloria, the English major in college, would in later years become the predominant writer of the lyrics in their songs, while Bill’s forte would be the musical settings.

Bill had earned a master’s degree, which opened the door for him to become the head of the English department of their high school. Gloria later earned a master’s degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. Their joint efforts, which began in that Alexandria high school, blossomed into a prolific husband and wife songwriting duo.

Bill, in most of their songwriting ventures, will write a musical setting with an idea in mind and Gloria, using the same idea, will write the lyrics. To date, they have written more than 700 songs, produced 60 recordings and several musicals. Both are authors or co-authors of several books.

Now for the story behind “Because He Lives,” as Gloria told it to me in one of several interviews. In the late 1960s, while expecting their third child, the Gaithers were going through a rather traumatic time in their lives. Bill was recovering from a bout with mononucleosis. It was a special period of anxiety and mental anguish for Gloria. The thought of bringing another child into this world, with all of the “craziness,” was taking its toll on her.

On New Year’s Eve, she was sitting in their living room, in agony and fear. The educational system was being infiltrated with the God is dead idea, while drug abuse and racial tensions were increasing. Then suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, she was filled with a gentle, calming peace. It was as if her heavenly Father, like an attentive mother bending over her baby, saw his child and came to her rescue. The panic gave way to calmness and an assurance that only the Lord can impart. She was assured that the future would be just fine, left in God’s hands.

Shortly after the baby was born, both Bill and Gloria remembered that the power of the blessed Holy Spirit seemed to come to their aid. Christ’s resurrection, in all of its power and affirmation in their lives, revitalized their thinking. To Gloria, it was life conquering death in their daily activities. Joy once again dominated the fearful circumstances of the day.

Those events gave rise to one of the most famous Christian songs of our time, “Because He Lives.” In this song, which begins, “God sent His son, they called Him Jesus,” we are reminded that Christ came to this earth. And the purpose for His coming was that we might be able to face tomorrow, with all of the uncertainty that it brings. She also reminds us that God holds the future right in his hands and makes life worth living for all who trust in him.

Article by Lindsay Terry,

Chords of “Because He Lives”
Malayalam version of this song: Daivathin Puthranam (ദൈവത്തിന്‍ പുത്രനാം)

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