How Great Is This Music?
Since Chris Tomlin's music has so clearly—and globally—become such an integral part of church worship today, we asked his colleagues and fans to let us know how his songs have affected them.
We heard first from several international worship leaders who sang on the "world edition" of Tomlin's song, "How Great Is Our God," for his new hits collection. We also heard from regular fans around the world. Here are some of their replies:
"I have been really blessed by 'How Great Is Our God.' I do a lot of mission work in third-world nations and restricted nations, and I have seen how God has used this song in particular. It is so beautiful to hear different tongues worship to this song; it's a reminder of what heaven is going to look like with every tribe, nation, and tongue singing the greatness of our King. I love the simplicity of this song, and it stays fresh and lively every time I sing it in worship." (Dilip Kurian, India)
"I heard 'How Great Is Our God' for the first time during my teenage years. My eyes were closed and I tried to imagine how great and powerful our God is, and I realized I was lacking words to describe all the depth, width, and wholeness of his love. The lyrics and melody help me to focus on God alone and encourage me to put all my attention to the One I live for every day. The song became my personal hymn and my declaration." (Roma Kasevich, Ukraine)
"When I have faced the challenges and hardships that this life has brought my way, when I have been discouraged and faint of heart, this song has been a powerful reminder of the greatness of our God, and it causes me to stand and it encourages me to continue." (Fernandinho, Brazil)
"Chris's song has become an anthem for Christians and churches the world over, and I've sung this heavenly anthem in many parts of our beautiful land. I am truly honored to be included as a part of this global recording. Listening to the many different languages proclaiming the greatness of our God in this track, one can't help but worship and stand in awe." (Sidney Mohede, Indonesia)
"For 11 years I was a single mom. It was the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done. I worked two jobs and struggled to pay the bills. But if I was upset, down, depressed, broke, or on top of the world, I would sing 'How Great Is Our God.' When I hear that song, I feel like crying and shouting out how great he really is. I always knew that God had great plans for me, but when you're in the middle of hard times it is easy to forget. I got married a year and a half ago to a wonderful Christian man, and at our wedding, we sang five worship songs, most by Chris Tomlin, and the last one was 'How Great Is Our God.'" (Amy Heck)
"About two years ago, God gave 'I Will Rise,' one of Chris's songs, to my son, Justin, who had just been given the news that there was nothing else the doctors could do for his cancer. A pastor friend was on the way to our house to pray with Justin, and heard this song on the radio for the first time. When he got to the house, he had us pull it up online to play for Justin. We all began to cry as the song touched our hearts, and from that moment on, Justin had us play it over and over again. He sang along as best as he could; the cancer had spread to his lungs and it was hard for him to breathe. On January 26, 2010, Justin's 22nd birthday, some friends of ours shared our story with Chris and asked if he would mind calling Justin for his birthday; Chris graciously said yes. He was so humble and kind. Just three weeks later, Justin lost his battle with cancer. We asked Chris to sing the song for Justin's funeral, but he was unavailable. So we had a friend sing the song for us because in our minds, the song was written just for Justin. We have peace in knowing that Justin is resting in the arms of Jesus now, and each time we hear the song, we think of our incredible son and how he has 'no more sorrow and no more pain'!" (Jane John)
"I was in prison in Scotland when I accepted the Lord into my life in 1998. For 12 years I tried to fight against the Lord and do it my way, but to no avail. I got deeper into drugs and kept going back to prison until January 2009, when I was brought to my knees when my wife was in prison and our daughter had been put in care. At this point I cried out to God, and Jesus has restored my daughter to me, my health, my sanity, and many more blessings. I got connected with a fellowship that teaches the Word of God, and the first song that really touched my heart was Chris Tomlin's 'Arriving.' That's how I knew I was where I was meant to be." (Neville Sharp)
"I have grown up listening to Chris Tomlin. When I went on a summer missions trip to Zambia, we put on a purity conference. We taught the worship leader 'How Great Is Our God,' and he taught it to the young children. The entire team was in tears as wear heard these kids lifting up the Lord—in their poverty, in their sadness, in their sickness, but also in their JOY, lifting their hands up to God. That was sobering. I've never listened to the song the same way." (Kelsey Baker)
"'Praise the Father, Praise the Son' and 'All the Way My Savior Leads Me' were two songs that were close to my heart when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The words carried me through the uncertainty, fear, and dark loneliness of treatment. The words spoke to my soul, freeing me, knowing that I was exactly at the place God intended for me. These songs were truly a divine source of hope for me." (Susan Hickman)
"God saved my life at 16 years old. I was crossing the street to the bus stop and was hit by a car; it is a miracle I am alive. I'm 33 now, and even though doctors predicted I would never walk again, I am walking, though not perfectly, with two forearm crutches. I was able to get through college in my 20s and earn two degrees. Today I am teaching English to people from foreign countries in the U.S. I am able to live alone, take care of myself, and be independent. When I hear 'How Great Is Our God,' it reminds me of his greatness and goodness, more than I can fathom." (Zina Hermez)
"At the age of 32, I suffered a stroke and have been permanently disabled ever since, unable to walk on my own. At first I was devastated, depressed, and lost, but I had a loving supportive husband and parents. Very soon into my recovery, I took control and refused to let this stroke beat me. Even through over a year of therapy and some very tough times, I held onto my faith. I've spent many nights in tears listening to Chris Tomlin's songs. 'I Will Rise' has gotten me through some very painful times, but Chris's music makes the pain bearable—prayer and his music have saved me. Chris's music brings me peace, joy, strength, and intensifies my belief and faith in God. Chris is a true blessing in my life. (Corey Molinatto)
"I am a 33-year-old woman and a survivor of sexual abuse & depression. I once was on a downward and destructive spiral, but then I started dating the man who would eventually be my husband. We started going to church together and the Lord grabbed a hold of my heart. I discovered that I am precious in the Lord's sight, and he has never forsaken me. My pain no longer was about me anymore. Understanding pain and suffering is now a way I know I can connect with others and share the love of Jesus. It was never in God's plan for me to end my life; had I succeeded I couldn't share my testimony, and I wouldn't be a wife or mother. This all hit me one day when my then 1½-year-old daughter, Addison, began to sing and hum to 'How Great Is Our God.' I have been saved for 10 years, married for over eight years, a mother for over seven years, and in ministry with my husband for almost two years. Every time I hear this song, it comes during different phases in my life. The one constant is that my heart is filled with joy and love for the Lord." (Andrea Padron)
"Five years ago, my wife and I were in the hospital awaiting the arrival of our son, Chase. All day long we were playing our favorite worship songs, even while my wife was giving birth. And as my son left the womb and took his first gasp of air, my wife and I were smiling, weeping … and singing along with Chris Tomlin's 'How Great is Our God.' Every time we hear or sing this, it reminds us of the majestic and intimate ways that our great God loves us." (Ira Wilson)
"When Carter, the 16-year-old daughter of our good friends, was involved in a car crash, my wife and I immediately headed to the ER to support the family. We heard that Carter had a very bad head injury and only a 20 percent chance of living through the night—and if she did, her chances of living anything like a normal life after were very small. Many of us ended up praying that night, even with the doctor. The next night, my daughter Kelsey, Carter's best friend, rounded up about 60 teenagers for a prayer session at the hospital, and several adults joined them, praying out loud for almost 90 minutes. Two nights later, Kelsey and her buddies had another prayer session, adding some songs as well. So again the mob showed up, and we prayed, and we sang. I cannot tell you what other songs we sang that evening, but we closed with 'How Great Is Our God.' When we got to the chorus, it was as if the angels had decided to come and sing with us, because the sound in that lobby was far greater than anything those gathered could have raised on their own. Long story short: Carter is a one in a gazillion winner of the 'God's Miracle' lottery. Two weeks and two days after the accident, she walked out of the hospital to go to a rehab center. She was talking and smiling and pretty much in control of her world at that point. She went on to college and will graduate in May with a history degree. When you ask Carter's parents what they most remember about those terrible two weeks, they mention the power of the first prayer circle, and the singing of 'How Great Is Our God' during the second prayer circle. So, Mr. Tomlin, please keep cranking out the praise songs, because thousands of praise leaders in churches—like me—will keep playing them for our people to use in worship. And thanks for giving us a song that was very timely in watching just how great God was in answering the prayers of many in Carter's recovery." (Alan Peterson)
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