Listen: Darlene tells Emma Mullings of the song that helped her fight her sickness
It’s incredible, how God can prepare someone for what lies ahead.
For worship artist Darlene Zschech, it was co-writing a song with fellow worship artist Israel Houghton, that helped prepare her for a fierce battle with breast cancer that lay just around the corner.
The song was In Jesus Name, recorded in 2013 for the album Revealing Jesus. Though she didn’t know it at the time, the words Darlene sang and spoke on the recording would become a great strength in the face of the diagnosis she’d receive just months later.
Watch: Darlene explains how worship helped her fight cancer
Towards the end of the song, Darlene talks to the audience at the live worship event, speaking out Biblical statements over anyone who is sick, and declares, “I hate cancer!” It almost seems prophetic:
In my spirit I just sense that if you are suffering cancer, if you’ve been given a death sentence by the doctor, whatever it is, we’re going to sing this thing over you…God is fighting for us. I hate cancer! I hate cancer, in Jesus’ name . And so we stand up… not in our own strength but in the name of Jesus… We declare that there is healing in the name of Jesus.
Prepared With A Song For Her Fight Against Cancer
So in December that same year, when Darlene received her cancer diagnosis, it was as though she’d been given a battle-song for the journey.
“The song says I’ll live and not die,” Darlene told Hope 103.2’s Emma Mullings in an interview in her Central Coast offices.
“And so here I am, months later, having to cling to these songs.”
Many any of the lyrics are so apt. The title track declares:
God is fighting for us, God is on our side / He has overcome, yes He has overcome… I will live, I will not die / I will declare and lift You high / Christ revealed and I am healed in Jesus name
“Worship Is Not Just About Mountain Tops”
When Darlene compiled her latest album released in 2015 – with some of its music recorded in the midst of her chemotherapy, no less – that same victory song inspired the album’s title.
In Jesus Name – A Legacy Of Worship And Faith compiles some of the globally-loved worshipper’s best-known songs from her 20-year music career.
The theme of hope in troubled times also appears in its newest song My Highest Hope:
So I pray to the risen one, my highest hope, I trust you with my life / Lord over every storm your love is holding me.
Darlene told Hope 103.2 that worshipping is “not about a mountain top experience” but about looking to God through all of life’s circumstances, both good and bad.
“You can have the same declaration in your worst, darkest of times, as the declaration you have on the mountain top,” she said.
“He’s the same God. He’s not asking you to bring anything that you don’t have, but you have all authority to worship him wherever you find yourself.
“And for me, I just wanted to roar these songs.”
How Worship Music Affected Darlene’s Body
Watch: Darlene addresses the audience in the song that later became her anthem
“Roaring” was a little difficult at times; Darlene’s voice was affected by the chemotherapy and is still returning to its normal state. But worship music was an anchor that she turned to throughout her treatment.
“Right from that first biopsy, I just had to play worship music sitting in the hospital, because it changes the atmosphere,” she said.
“Kind of like a mother with her babies, worship gathers your faith and helps gather your heart and pulls it into a safe place, and gives it the strength to declare what would [otherwise] be very very hard to declare.
“The night before, I felt like I was going to die… It’s like I could feel my body responding to this worship”
Darlene explained that she had some amazing experiences while worshipping God in the midst of her cancer struggle.
“On my worst day, my girlfriend from Queensland came over, jumped into bed with me and put on “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel (a church in Redding, California),” she said.
“The night before, I felt like I was going to die. So I’m laying in bed and literally hearing that song, every time it got to “you make me brave”, it’s just like I could feel my body responding to this worship.
“You can’t dismiss the worship of God… They’re not tunes, they’re not top 40 hits, they are heaven on earth, they are life changing messages.”
A Message For Young Musicians
It’s a message she has written about in her new book, Worship Changes Everything, released late last year.
She uses the book to teach young church musicians that worship music is “bigger than your talent, or gift, or feelings”.
“For me, worship just became everything,” she said.