Because He Lives: Reflecting On Lent And Easter

Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene

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Author: Tobin Crenshaw

I once heard an instructor talk about trying to counsel a young woman in a hospital who had been severely abused by her family. He tried unsuccessfully for an hour to get a response from her but she simply refused to acknowledge his presence in the room. Finally when he got up to leave she spoke for the first time. She explained that in her pain she wanted to end her life and asked him how was able to live amidst the hurts and difficulties in the world. Thinking for a moment he responded, “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow.”

It was Alfred H. Ackley who penned the words to the immortal song with those lyrics back in the early part of the twentieth century. He was listening to a radio program where people seemed very confused about the message of Jesus and the meaning of Easter. Ackley found himself extremely frustrated over the conversation he heard, and so with the encouragement of his wife he sat down and wrote the infamous lyrics to the song “He Lives”:

He lives, He lives,

Christ Jesus lives today!

He walks with me and talks with me

Along life\’s narrow way.

He lives, He lives,

Salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives?

He lives within my heart.

It was the Apostle Paul who proclaimed, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). Paul took an eternal perspective about life which empowered him to face all challenges with a sense of victory, peace and perspective.

About the same time that Ackley penned the words to his song a missionary named E. H. Hamilton was asked if he was afraid of dying on the mission field. With his own faith in the unseen realities of life and in the love of God Hamilton responded by writing a poem entitled “Afraid? Of What?”:

To feel the spirit\’s glad release?

To pass from pain to perfect peace,

The strife and strain of life to cease?

Afraid – of that?

Afraid? Of What?

Afraid to see the Savior\’s face

To hear His welcome and to trace

The glory gleam from wounds of grace?

Afraid – of that?

Afraid? Of What?

Both writers captured the essence of the Paul’s words, and both works have been an encouragement for countless people. As Lenten season has begun wherever you find yourself on your spiritual journey, remember the words of Mary Morrissey who wrote, “You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith,” and never forget that all things are possible to him who believes.

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About the Author

A former pastor, Tobin holds both a B.A. and an M.A. in theology. Having traveled widely in the Marine Corps and as a graduate student, Tobin has spent the past 15 years gathering some of the world’s most powerful life-changing truths. He’s the author of \\’The Life That Is Really Life: How Biblical Truth Can Transform Your Spiritual, Emotional, Physical and Relational Health\\’ available at his website

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