Some history of the hymn Because He Lives

This child can face uncertain days because He lives

Kaitlyn (pictured above at 2 days) was born to Mark and Liezl Penrith on the 22nd of September 2003. She weighed 3.42kg’s and was 22cm’s. Click image to enlarge.

“Is she ok?” I whispered worriedly, anxiously. “Please tell me everything is alright?”

Nothing had gone according to plan that day. I was tired, exhausted. Liezl lay on the operating table, tears in her eyes. Overcome with concern for the infant before me I silently prayed, “Please God, let everything be OK.”

“This won’t take long Mr Penrith,” the paediatrician replied as she extended the baby girl’s tiny fingers and examined her little body.

A short while later after scribbling a few details onto a hospital chart and having wrapped the newborn in a blanket she turned to me.

“Congratulations. Your baby is healthy and stable. She’ll need to be washed but spend some time with her first.”

We were left alone. I cradled the small bundle in my arms. The anxiety which had been knotted inside of me melted away. I sunk to the floor with tears streaming down my cheeks as I wept for joy. It was the most emotionally moving experience of my life.

The second verse of the hymn Because He Lives quickens me to the very core:

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.

How true a word to me.

In 1970 the singers and song writers Bill and Gloria Gaither were expecting the birth of their third son. It was however a time of turmoil for them. Bill had been recovering from an illness, mononucleosis, there were deep concerns about the education system with the dominance of atheism as well as racial and drug issues of the day, Bill’s sister had just gone through a devastating divorce and they’d been accused by a close friend of using their ministry to turn a quick buck.

Then in July the healthy Benjamin was born. The hymn Because He Lives poured out of their thankful hearts. It affirms the hope we have in Christ despite the uncertainties we face around us. It is a glorious testament to God’s goodness, provision and security. I’ve found much inspiration in this hymn and many others like it which remind us of God’s work within the everyday of our lives.

What hymns quicken you? Do you read or think about the words of the hymn or songs you sing? Do you ever test the songs you sing against the truth of God’s Word?

4 thoughts on “Some history of the hymn Because He Lives

    • Thanks JMR,

      I swung by your blog this month and noticed it is in mothballs. You completely recovered?

      How did last weeks business stuff go?

      I put on 5 kg’s while on holiday. I’m fat and feeble and need to jog. See you and Charlie Brown tomorrow.


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