BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#723 - "Smoke" by Plumb
Plumb uncovers how God can turn the choking smoke in our lives into the oxygen of hope.
 



In listening to Plumb's journey over the past few albums, you can hear how her life and faith is reflected in her art, and never more so than on Exhale. On the 2015 release, you can hear Tiffany's vertical expressions of relying completely on God for His breath and Holy Spirit to sustain her. Plumb's seventh release Exhale follows the success of her previous album Need You Now, an intense collection that coincided with her personal struggle in her marriage that led to her family's restoration. This story ultimately led to Tiffany Lee writing her memoir, "Need You Now: A Story of Hope."

Plumb's return with Exhale had been highly anticipated for me as Need You Now was my 2013 Album of the Year. God wants us to know that He's faithful to complete what's He's started in all of us who have put our hope and trust in Jesus. Plumb's genuine heart of worshipful gratitude has combined with this notion of "exhaling" on the new album, revealing the most overt and honest Plumb album to date. Having previously discussed "Exhale," "Lord, I'm Ready Now" and "Great is Our God," I had the chance to speak with Plumb's Tiffany Lee about "Smoke."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

I wrote the song with Eric Marshall of Young Oceans. He is an independent worship artist. We have the same manager, and we became fast friends when we were introduced to each other. He came to town and we got together to write songs. This song, "Smoke," wrote itself. It was super fast. We spent the first day getting to know each other and writing a song, and we talked about Eric's song "Great is our God." We had an hour left, and "Smoke" was born. When a song comes out that quickly, it feels like it is a song that needed to be written and God is using us as the pen. I feel honored to be part of the song. It is a message from God, and He is using Eric and me to communicate it.

When I introduce the song, I share that the song is my testimony right now. It's not just about something I've been through and God has turned into beauty. It's who I am. God is my hope. God is my song. This whole album is about Him. He is what I'm breathing in and out. Exhale is about sharing what we've been through and telling our stories. The smoke that was just unbreathable and the ash that was worthless in my life has turned into pure oxygen, exceedingly, abundantly more than I asked or imagined, and it is so beautiful.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Genesis 2:7 (VOICE): "One day the Eternal God scooped dirt out of the ground, sculpted it into the shape we call human, breathed the breath that gives life into the nostrils of the human, and the human became a living soul."

Psalm 150:6 (NKJV): "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!"

James 1:18-19 (VOICE): "We have a special role in His plan. He calls us to life by His message of truth so that we will show the rest of His creatures His goodness and love. Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don't get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters."

Lamentations 3:22-23 (VOICE): "How enduring is God's loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day."

Ephesians 3:19-21 (NKJV): "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (VOICE): "All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, and training for a life that is right so that God's people may be up to the task ahead and have all they need to accomplish every good work."

What is the takeaway message?

I'm out on tour now singing this song every night. It is always exciting to see how the crowd responds, because there is something ordained about the song. When you play a familiar song, like "Need You Now" or "Lord, I'm Ready Now," you anticipate the connection with the song. When we try out a new song like "Smoke," sometimes a new song doesn't connect right away, but this song has connected immediately with people. I've been able to worship over and over and over and be in anticipation each night of how God is going to use the song each night. 

I'm exhaling back and breathing out the truth of this song. Even before this album was made, I had shared that hope was oxygen. We all need to breathe, and there is always hope. I wanted a song that captures that sentiment. There's always hope, and it is oxygen, and we all need to breathe. If there's an infinite amount of hope and that's what we need for our lungs, then shouldn't we all be okay? 

Sometimes we get in a dark situation, and it's so dark and foggy that we can't see that little bit of hope on the other side. Once we do make it through that minute, if it's a panic attack, or that day, if it's the flu, or that month you learn you have cancer, or that year you are separated from your spouse. Whatever that small window of time is compared to eternity that you feel hopeless, once you step into the ocean overflowing with hope, I want this song to be a continuum of that message. There is always hope. It is oxygen that you need to breathe. There's an infinite amount available to you. 

Whatever smoke you are trying to breathe that is not breathable, and whatever ash and soot you are standing in, and you feel worthless and drenched in regret, pain, sorrow and inability to move, let God use this song to free you right now. God's going to turn this into pure oxygen and use your situation to tell a story to advance His Kingdom. At some point your brain needs to shift to understanding how what you've been through advances God's Kingdom. 

This song can free you from regret. You didn't mess up God's plan. God is God, and He doesn't need you. He loves you so much, and if you decide to participate in what God is doing in your life, you'll feel the most joy and peace and see that evidence. Whatever you've done, trust from this moment that God has not wasted it and used it. You were the one missing out. God died for you, loves you and wants you to be part of His work. He is a God of infinite second chances. Let's praise Him.

Lyrics:
Though I walk through a valley
The fields worse than death
I am slow to speak instead I hear Your voice
And it says come to Me
You the tired and heavy
And I will give you much needed rest

You are my hope
You are my song
You are the oxygen inside these weary lungs
You are my safe place
You are my home
You are my shelter when it all goes up in smoke

Though I have danced with the devil
And all of His friends
I am quick to see Your hands offered to me
Hands that bear my scars
And feet that pull me towards Him
I am humbled by Your love for me 

You are my hope
You are my song
You are the oxygen inside these weary lungs
You are my safe place
You are my home
You are my shelter when it all goes up in smoke
You are my shelter when it all goes up in smoke

My Healer
Provider
You are my God
Protector
My Strength and Shield
You are my God

My Healer
Provider
You are my God
Protector
My Strength and Shield
You are my God

You are my hope
You are my song
You are the oxygen inside these weary lungs
You are my safe place
You are my home
You are my shelter when it all goes up in smoke
You are my shelter when it all goes up in smoke
You are my shelter when it all goes up in smoke 


I absolutely love Tiffany's intentionality and complete focus on God's provision in her life. Continuing the discussion about how she's suffered from panic attacks, shortness of breath and praying, "God please help me" from her song "Need You Now," these songs on Exhale celebrate God's breath, His Holy Spirit, being breathed into her life and her marriage.

As a Christian father and husband, I can really relate to Plumb's songs about anxiety, marriage and parenthood. Tiffany is one of my favorite writers in all of Christian music because her songs are so emotional, vulnerable and authentic. Plumb is an anointed songwriter and singer, and she has a profound way of piercing my soul with her poignant words, tender singing and inspirational truths.

This worship album really engages me from start to finish in my own time of worship and reflection about the attributes of God. We are all in need of our great God to fix our messes and turn them into messages in some way, and the beauty of grace is that it is not something we deserve or can earn, but it is a free gift from our great God. So many people can relate to the message of this great song. He is a God of infinite second chances. This song is a comforting message that there is always hope. Breathe it in like oxygen, and God's hope will turn whatever you are going through into something different for His glory.

God's mercy is new each day, and it is not based on our performance, or what we can do for God. He pours out His mercy despite what we've done, there's nothing we can do except trust in His Son Jesus. Tiffany writes and sings her breath, given to her by God, into anointed new songs for the church. You'll be blessed by this powerful song which is a stand-out anthem with a convicting declaration: "You are my hope, You are my song, You are the oxygen inside these weary lungs. You are my safe place, You are my home, You are my shelter when it all goes up in smoke!" Amen to that!

Watch the lyric video below:
 



 

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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