“The Lord is faithful.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Easter has come and gone, but the hope it brings with it has not. We need to cling to that truth as we watch our televisions and learn that a Facebook user murdered an elderly man live on his Facebook page; North Korea plans to “nuke” us when their missile technology allows its missiles to reach our country; and Syria thinks it’s okay to use Sarin gas to snuff the life out of children. What kind of world are we living in?
The unfortunate truth is the craziness we see going on in our world is not new. In fact, one of our favorite Easter songs today was written in similar times and under similar circumstances. In 1971, a young Indiana songwriter, Bill Gaither, was also discouraged, so discouraged about what he saw happening that it helped to throw him in a state of deep and hopeless depression.
Many of my older readers remember those times. Racial tension was tearing our country apart; the Vietnam Conflict was at its peak; and three American heroes, who wanted to see a different America, were all shot down in their prime. I can still remember seeing Dion on television in 1968 singing, Abraham, Martin and John, a song that eulogized the lives of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy, and praised them for the courage they showed.
Against that backdrop, this young, promising songwriter just couldn’t bear the thought of bringing another child in this world. In fact, his wife, Gloria, then pregnant with their third child, described how they both felt: “Bill and I would talk about the circumstances of this world, and about this new discouragement, and wind up saying, ‘If this world is like this now, what will it be like in fifteen or sixteen years for our baby? What will this child face?’ We were filled with fear and uncertainty.”
That uncertainty turned to endless hope one spring afternoon when Bill’s father provided him with a modern-day parable. The younger Gaither had just paved a parking lot next to his office and there in the middle of the newly paved lot stood a tiny blade of green grass. His father showed him that lonely blade of grass, suggesting that it had a direct connection with the hope we have in Christ. His wife later said, “It was confirming a truth that had been pushing its way to the surface of our souls: Life wins! Life wins!”
Bill Gaither’s father convinced him that hope is never lost for the Christian and he penned “Because He Lives“, a reminder to us all that hope is never lost for Christians.
Life is difficult and these are dark times in which we live. But we have a gift called salvation that provides light that will show us the way in spite of what may be going on in our world. Jesus himself said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
That light still shines my friends. We may live in dark times but we don’t walk in darkness. And Bill Gaither’s chorus to “Because He Lives” is as true in 2017 as it ever was in 1971:
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.
Hold on to the promises of God and remember what the Apostle John told us: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17)