THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG
Courage and Strength for His Child:
"Because He Lives"
By Lindsay Terry
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
I daresay there is not a Southern Gospel Music fan on the face of the earth who has not heard at least one song written by Bill and Gloria Gaither. Millions of Americans and people of other countries are coming to love Southern Gospel, and most of them can name more than one Gaither song. The Gaither Homecoming concerts and videos are the primary reason. One of the Gaithers’ best-known songs is the subject of this story.
When Bill and Gloria were single and teaching in the same high school, they met and began to share ideas about songs. Gloria, an English major in college, would become in later years the predominant writer of the lyrics in their songs, whereas Bill’s forte was the musical setting. Their joint efforts, which began during their years of teaching, blossomed into the most prolific husband and wife songwriting team of modern times.
Bill and Gloria wrote their first song together some forty years ago. Their songs, almost without exception, started with an idea. Usually, Bill would write a musical piece with an idea in mind, and then Gloria, using the same idea, would write the words. On some occasions, Gloria revealed in her book Fully Alive the whole lyric would come to her, and then Bill would write the music, either alone or with a cowriter. They have now written some six hundred songs and produced sixty recordings and several musicals. And both have authored or coauthored several books.
One of the couple’s most admirable characteristics is their desire to assist other songwriters and musicians, especially youngsters. In my more than forty years of interviewing songwriters, I have met young people on several occasions who recounted to me their experiences with Bill and Gloria Gaither. At least one teenager, who today is a famous songwriter and musician, just showed up unannounced at their home one afternoon in Alexandria. He was invited to stay for supper. During the course of the evening, he was greatly encouraged.
Of late, many older singers and songwriters who had all but gone into retirement are now back out on the road singing from church to church and from one Gaither Homecoming concert to the next—thanks to Bill and Gloria. The Gaithers have cowritten with scores of songwriters in their home, in their Indiana studio, and in other locations. It is a boost to any songwriter to have his or her name appear at the top of a musical selection as a cowriter with Bill and Gloria.
The Gaithers’ lives have not always been smooth sailing, however. During the late 1960s, while expecting their third child, they went through a rather traumatic time. While Bill was recovering from a bout with mononucleosis, he and Gloria and other members in their church family were the objects of false accusations and belittlement. It was a special time of fear and torment for Gloria. With all the craziness surrounding her family, the thought of bringing another child into the world was taking its toll on her.
She remembers sitting in their living room in agony and fear on New Year’s Eve. Across the nation, the educational system was being infiltrated with the “God is dead” idea, while drug abuse and racial tension were increasing. Then, suddenly and quite unexpectedly, she was filled with a sweet, calming peace. Like an attentive mother bending over her baby, it was as if her heavenly Father saw His Gloria and came to her rescue. Her panic gave way to a calmness and an assurance that only the Lord can give. She was assured that the future would be just fine, left in God’s hands.
Both Bill and Gloria remembered that the power of the blessed Holy Spirit seemed to come to their aid. The power of Christ’s resurrection was reaffirmed in their lives and in their thoughts. To Gloria, it was “life conquering death” as joy once again permeated the fearful circumstances of their lives.
All of this gave rise to one of the most famous Southern Gospel songs of our time, “Because He Lives.” The first verse is a presentation of the gospel of Christ, reminding us of His death, burial, and resurrection. In the second verse we see the life of a new baby and sense the assurance that Christ alone can give. The little one can have a victorious life because Christ lives.
As we realize that God holds the future and makes life worth living for all who trust in Him, we can face tomorrow with all the uncertainty it brings.
As we remember Christ’s resurrection, we gain assurance and strength to overcome the frightening obstacles of life. It is also very meaningful and empowering to realize that Jesus lives, every single day, in our hearts.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Taken from Stories Behind 50 Southern Gospel Favorites © 2005 by Lindsay Terry.
Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
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