Written by: Laura Chambers (10/20/2016)
God’s word is a vast mine of wisdom and promises. Among its pages, we can find forgiveness for the past, peace for the present, and hope for the future. When you sum it up like that, it seems fairly straightforward. Despite our head knowledge of these facts, the truth can be camouflaged from our hearts; if we don’t feel it, we find it hard to see and believe.
Chris Tomlin has been celebrating the good news of Jesus Christ for years now, with songs which inevitably become adopted and adored by churches worldwide. There’s some debate about whether the source of his popularity is still attributable to his knack for creating beautiful unions of music and lyrics, or simply name recognition. What I can tell you is that his latest album Never Lose Sight is certain to provide you with a refresher course on the immutable truths of God’s goodness, love, and mercy. The album is available in either regular or deluxe versions; the latter contains three extra tracks.
Whether you love it or have grown tired of it, “Good Good Father” is the song everybody’s talking about this year; chances are your church has sung it at least once. (Mine has.) It’s even inspired a children’s book which came out earlier this month. While we might hear very different ideas about God from others, we need only to listen to His voice for the truth. Ultimately, everything we’re looking for can be found in a perfect God, who loves us like a father loves his children. For those whose fathers are dead or absent, this song will prove to be doubly comforting. “Jesus” has a simple title, yet layers of assurance and comfort permeate this reminder of all that we can find in Him. With familiar images from Scripture (the lion, the lamb, Jesus calming the storm, etc), Tomlin encourages us to take heart, because the Lord is the answer to every struggle. With guest vocals by the very recognizable Danny Gokey, “Impossible Things” outlines several of God’s accomplishments, all of which were once considered unattainable without His intervention. We have no reason to fear when He is walking beside us. He does more than we could possibly conceive of or think to request. “Home” casts our gaze to the far-off horizon of God’s kingdom, filled with a longing just to leave our hurting world for the freedom and beauty found in heaven. Rather than becoming mellow or moody, the song feels more like a victory march. “God Of Calvary” tells the story of the crucifixion by reminding us that it wasn’t just a man named Jesus on the cross, it was God Himself in the flesh. He bridged the immense chasm between God and man. The album’s title comes from this track’s bridge, rather than its title:
“And if I never, never lose sight of this place
I will never, never lose sight of Your grace”
Remembering what happened on Calvary keeps His goodness and mercy ever before us. “He Lives” declares that Jesus did not just rise from the dead, He still lives and reigns even today. More than that, we as Christians have Him living in and through us; our lives don’t belong to us anymore. Giving glory to God becomes natural when you understand that has defeated the grave. “Glory Be” awakens with praises and glory for the triune God. He has delivered us and given us new life, and we will be ready with songs of joy and reverence. You just want to throw your head back and look heavenward when the chorus hits. “Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing)” builds on the classic hymn by adding a chorus where one is lacking, though it takes a while to arrive there. I would have put it in between the first and second verses as well, or at least part of it. The hymn fits from a thematic point of view, as it asks God to prevent our wanderings through reminders of how much we owe Him. “Yes And Amen” comfortingly reminds us that everything God has promised will come to pass. He is faithful in His love and wants us to draw close to Him. Tomlin seems overjoyed by the assurances we can have when we trust Jesus to finish what He started. “All Yours” ascribes all of creation, including time and our lives, to God’s power and glory. Everything that exists makes God’s name great, from beginning to end. We ought to worship Him with every breath of air.
“First Love” features the talents of Kim Walker-Smith in a passionate re-affirmation that God remains the one we will cherish and cling to when storm winds blow. It is a tender love song to the Lord, accented by the combination of their voices rising together in song. “The God I Know” retrospectively finds hope in a God who never failed in the past and continues to uphold us even now. We can have peace in our souls, because He makes all things come together for good for those who love Him. “God And God Alone” unites us around our common Saviour, the only one who can cleanse our sings and resurrect us from the dead. There’s nobody who deserves praise more than He does. Musically, the chorus reminds me a bit of “Forever Reign”. “Kyrie Eleison” (Greek for “Lord Have Mercy”), featuring the combined written and vocal talents of Matt Maher, Jason Ingram, and Matt Redman, prays for God’s mercy with a humble spirit. Wonder and awe fill this plea as the thought of a God who continually forgives us again and again. He is the only one who can rescue us.
God is like a multi-faceted jewel; when our eyes are blinded by shadows and storms, we are unable to appreciate the many things that make Him wondrous. As a ray of sunshine makes a gemstone’s inherent beauty evident, so too Never Lose Sight glorifies God by bringing to light every promise and gift He has given us. Chris Tomlin affirms what is often forgotten in the chaos of life: the love of the Father, the blood of the Son, and the power of the Spirit.