Saturday, August 2, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturdays: Because He Lives




Glenn Cornelius Raber
May 12, 1929
July 27, 2008


Of all the hymns and praise choruses I have been exposed to, there are just a few that come to mind and become so real to me over and over again, when hard times hit. Because He Lives, is one of them. After posting on Then Sings My Soul Saturdays last week, I began to wonder what song would weigh on my heart this week that I would be as eager to write about as I was, At Calvary. When Jon, and I got home the following day, Sunday, at about 1:00 in the afternoon, there was a message on our voice mail. Jon's aunt had phoned. Her message was to tell us, Jon's dad had passed away at noon. Our brisk and energetic "Let's go for a bike ride" mindset immediately shifted to somber, still, quietness. In less than one moment's time, my husbands life had changed. Before the stillness of that moment was interrupted with the sound of the laying down of the phone receiver, that beautiful hymn Because He Lives, began in my head. Throughout this past week, I have tried to sing others, even play worship music, but all I can hear is, Because He Lives.

Because Jon's, parents have been failing in health, he has been reading what the Word of God, has to say about sorrow and grief. These are are a few of the things Jon, and I have learned about this subject. To begin with, we both know and understand that there is sadness when a loved one passes away, even when we have the assurance they are in Glory. But, we have learned so much about emotions and how the enemy of our souls would love to suffocate us with sorrow and grief, that if we choose to swim in it, it will drown us for sure. That is always Satan's goal for us. His only goal for us is to steal from us what he can, kill or destroy us. But you see, Jesus took and carried our grief and sorrow with Him to the Cross at Calvary. We really do not have to "grieve" or have overwhelming "sorrow". We can cast that at the foot of the Cross and exchange it for peace and joy. Will we have times of sadness? Yes. Will we have a longing to restore what we have lost? Absolutely. Tears? Plenty already, yes. Will we become despondent and give into out of control grief and sorrow? No. Will we need to seek help? Only at the Cross. We have a place to take all of the sadness, grief and sorrow. I have lost a mother, father, brother and lots of dreams as well. I know how deeply this can hurt. I know we have to acknowledge the loss. But, I also know that we have the ability to choose to fix our eyes, and keep our mind on Jesus, and receive unspeakable and amazing peace and joy. Jon, knows this too.

While in Athens, Paul became concerned about the new church he had planted in, Thessalonica. He sent Timothy, to check on them. Timothy took good news back to Paul, as the the Thessalonian's were thriving spiritually. Paul, wanted to go and see them, but he had more to do some miles away in, Corinth. So typical of Paul, he wrote to them. This letter did not contain his normal theology, it was a letter of gratitude for their continued faith in hard times, and encouragement. One of the most beautiful and freeing things he tells them is in 1 Thessalonians 4:13.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.

I am not going to expound on all he taught them there, and in other places in scripture. I am only going to point out here that as Christian's, we do have hope, and we do not have to grieve like those that don't. Basically, the teaching about that is condensed in my paragraph above. Isaiah 51:11 says,

[The Lord God says] And the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come with singing to Zion; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

It is not God's intention for us to live defeated. He gave us Jesus, to give us a way to live in victory. Instead of the shoulda, woulda, coulda's of losing another loved one, Jon and I choose to fix our eyes on our hope in glory, Christ Jesus.

Bill Gaither, wrote this wonderful hymn when our country was in unrest, the Viet Nam war, and when the the "God is dead" movement was so strong. Both he and Gloria, were so discouraged over bringing their soon to be born baby into a world in such wretched conditions. By the time their son was born, and they saw him with their own eyes, they were reminded and renewed in their faith. While holding that baby and just gazing on him, they were reassured that Because He [Jesus] Lives, tomorrow is worth living, fear gives way to victory and there is a bright future with hope because of, Jesus. After a long dry time of not writing songs, Bill Gaither gave us this amazing hymn of Victory!

'nuff said.



Song lyrics | Because He Lives lyrics



Because He Lives

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Chorus:
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!

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!

Chorus
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!

And then one day, I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict'ry,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives!

Chorus
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!

Because He Lives
Words and music by William J. Gaither
© 1971







11 comments:

Kim said...

I'm so sorry for Jon's loss, and for yours, Teresa. Even when you know it's coming, death is never something we can ever get used to. It always hurts. Thank God, his dad was a believer. That certainly brings peace in the midst of suffering.

That song is a treasure. So comforting, isn't it?

nannykim said...

Sorry to hear about Jon's loss; I think when we loose a loved when it makes us so much more aware of the unseen world--and of the greatness of all eternity that is before us. It really puts the focus on us being Pilgrims. It soooo makes me think of passages in Hebrews 11 and 12.

When I take communion I often think , not only how much we are united with those taking the communion at the same time, but with all of those who have entered heaven before us. Communion is such a picture of all that Christ has done for us and our untiy in Christ Jesus.

It has always amazed me how much we can experience deep sorrow and deep joy at the exact same time! Sorrow from missing our loved one, yet the deep joy of knowing their perfect joy with the Lord in His presence! What a glorious Lord we serve--breath-taking!!

I tried your recipe and altered a little for my gluten free diet. I believe it is the best quiche I have ever had!! So fulllllllll of flavor---I used fresh rosemary and fresh basil along with the other ingreds. Also I used the sweet Turkey sausage too (I think you did too). It was so wonderful!! I did something stupid. I had gotten it all in the oven when I realized I had left the eggplant sitting under the paper towel!! I had to get it all out--dump it out and mix it up and put it back in!!! So it altered the appearance, but not the great taste!!! THANKS so much---FANTASTIC. I am going to post my version on my recipe blog.

Mocha with Linda said...

So sorry for your husband's loss. That song does indeed capture the essence of the hope we have in Christ!

Cheryl said...

Teresa,

I'm sorry for Jon and your family's loss. Aren't we so fortunate that we have the opportunity to see them again!

Because He Lives is such a great song! So comforting!

I see you live in Oklahoma! So do I!

Have a great weekend!

Cheryl

Miss Jean said...

Teresa, first I am so very sorry for your families loss. I know the pain you are going through, but also the hope and assurance.

Your testimony is beautiful and I commend you for sharing it with us. If we could all face grief and sorrow with such dignity as you.

My husband and I went to see the Gaither's back in the early seventies. Amazing!

Carrie said...

Thank you, thank you for this beautiful post. I too have recently suffered the loss of loved ones (my Dad in Nov. 2005 and brother in April 2006). At the funeral services our family took comfort in the assurances of Scripture that our loved ones are sleeping in Jesus and that we will see them again. I was also happy to think that their physical suffering was over.
I also love the song, "Because He Lives" and reading about the background of its writing brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing. May God be especially near to you and Jon at this time.

Tänia said...

I just lost my Dad... and I know your loss. But I also know the celebration of knowing he is in heaven today!

Thank you for sharing...


Tänia of http://weirblessed.com/faithprints/?p=361

Mary said...

((hugs)) to you all.

Linda said...

Thinking of your family. What a wonderful hymn to share at this time!

Teresa said...

I want to thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart for you condolences and encouraging words. Yes, it is so good to know Jon's father is finally at peace and rest. His last days were not pleasant. His eternity is. Yes, I am thankful that he is in Heaven and Jon will be able to fellowship with him there. This blog world is so wonderful because of wonderful Christian women like each of you that stopped to say something kind.

I pray you receive rich blessings from our Father in Heaven. Actually, you ladies have inspired me to post something about blessings. It will be coming soon.

Be blessed!
Teresa

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