Chris Tomlin posing for a photo in a denim shirt

Chris Tomlin’s new song reminds us that we need a God who listens

Micah Vander Stouwe
Micah Vander Stouwe

On a recent episode of I Love That Song, Keith Stevens chats with Chris Tomlin. The two connect about new music, Chris’ newborn baby, and touring after quarantine.

Chris Tomlin dedicated his life to the thing he loves most: giving people the words and the music to worship God together. From his vantage point on stage, he loves to see people worshiping with the words he’s able to give them.

Worship is his calling, and Chris traces the importance of worship all the way back to the Old Testament. 2 Chronicles 5 tells the story of God’s presence filling the temple like a cloud when His people sang as one. For Chris, this is what his life’s work is all about.

Recent years, though, have put a hold on large gatherings, and Chris Tomlin’s shows are no exception. This is the most time Chris has spent at home in 20 years, and it’s been quite an adjustment for him.

But this unexpected time at home has been a great blessing to Chris—he and his wife just welcomed their third daughter into the family. Chris has been able to spend an extended amount of time with his brand new baby, Ellie Grace. She was a welcome surprise, and Chris’ family has found themselves needing to add on to their house.

Chris laughed when Keith asked about transitioning back to his normal, crazy life. Before everything changed, Chris Tomlin and his band were working and traveling nonstop. They had nailed down their routine, but the sudden halt in touring stopped their momentum.

“I’m not sure if I actually know how to do a concert right now,” Chris said. “But I’m really looking forward to figuring it out again, I can tell you that.”

But not touring didn’t stop Chris from making new music. Or rather, it didn’t stop God from working through him. Keith told Chris, “I believe that whenever you step back out on whatever stage it is, that anointing, that beautiful gift that you have, will just flow right through you again.”

God placed the calling to make music on Chris’ heart when he was young. As a kid, he grew up listening to country music. His father taught him to play guitar, and he wrote his first song at 14 years old. When he accepted Jesus into his heart, his calling into music solidified, and the pandemic wasn’t enough to stop God from creating music through him.

Just as his new baby girl was a surprise, so was his new studio album, Chris Tomlin and Friends. Chris said, “I thought, ‘Wow, God is doing something. I feel like I’m just in this river, and wherever God takes me, I’m going.’”

God brought connections and friends into Chris’ life to make this album. Chris said, “When I think about this record, it’s some of the best songs I’ve ever been able to write.”

Chris wrote “God Who Listens,” the second radio release from this album, with his good friend and country music star Thomas Rhett. These two major Christian music artists felt God calling them to write music together. When they sat down to write, they thought about the significance of having a God who really listens to us.

Of all the worldly things we place our trust and attention in, of all the things we pray to, only our God is living and active, and only He answers our calls for help.

Chris and Thomas realized they needed to remind themselves of this message, and they figured others needed it too. In a time of fear, questioning, and loneliness, we need to know that God is still there. We don’t have the answers, but He does. He listens to our prayer as a loving Father. He knows us intimately and cares for our individual needs.

When I close my eyes
I know that
I’m not just hoping,
I’m not just wishing
I know I’m praying to a God who listens
I know He hears me,
I know He’s living
Yes I am praying to a God who listens.

(Chris Tomlin, “God Who Listens”)

The song opens with a verse full of wonder and praise for the majesty of God. He made everything in our big, beautiful universe, and yet He bends down to hear us speak.

The God who made the winters and the summers
The One who put the stars all in their place
The only One who stands above all others
He knows me by name
The angels hide their faces in His presence
The demons run for cover when You speak
You rule the world and reign above the heavens
And still draw close to me

(Chris Tomlin, “God Who Listens”)

Today, as we emerge from a time of isolation, many of us need to remember that we have someone we can always count on to be there for us:

Who knows me
Who loves me 
Who tells me that I am His own
And You surround me
Remind me
You always are for me
So I come boldly to Your throne

(Chris Tomlin, “God Who Listens”

This song offers much-needed encouragement, just like the rest of Chris’ music.

The episode opens with a quote from a listener:

“I wanted to thank you for playing Chris Tomlin’s ‘Good Good Father.’ I first remember hearing that song about the time my father passed away, and I can remember it was very comforting to be reminded that even though my earthly father was gone, my heavenly Father was always there for me.”

Halfway through the episode, another listener chimed in:

“When I heard Chris Tomlin sing ‘Home,’ it reminded me so much of my son and the pain that he’s been through, and the hope that he keeps in his heart is Jesus Christ. During his hospitalization, at first they wouldn’t allow him to have a Bible, and he kept asking for a Bible—it’s even in documentation of his care plan, that [he] became more at peace and felt more safe when he received his Bible.”

To close the episode, Chris prayed that we, especially those of us who need healing, would have faith to pray to our God, who will always listen.

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