Face The Wall While I Sing

by Lindsay Terry

Lindsay TerrySong: "Shout to the Lord"

Scripture: "Honor and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength" (Ps. 96:6-7).

For nearly ten years Darlene Zschech and her husband, Mark, have been leaders at Hills Christian Life Center in Sydney, Australia. Darlene is the worship director and is responsible for vocals on all church projects and for Youth Alive New South Wales, and Mark is the director of the television ministry. Australia has given to the world of praise and worship music a young lady who is at one and the same time a foremost worship leader and an immensely talented songwriter.

Darlene was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, in 1965. She said, "I came out of the womb singing. In fact, I can't remember a time in my life when music wasn't a critical part of the atmosphere in which I existed."

"At the age of 15, my Dad, my beloved hero, who had been attending church and recommitted his broken life to Christ, took his just-as-broken eldest child to a youth group called Royal Rangers.' I attended for a few weeks, making friends, tying knots, learning about camping, teamwork, and the code of life, and most importantly, the giver of life, Jesus Christ."

"My memories of a particular evening are so clear, the irresistible invitation to receive Jesus into my life. My longing to be made WHOLE overtook my limited understanding, and I got out of my seat and walked toward the leader, with a couple of others. He then led us into the most beautiful prayer I have ever prayed."

Darlene is an accomplished singer with eight years of vocal training, and has worked on commercials for numerous major companies. Time and space do not allow a listing of her many victories and accomplishments, yet she was not without her "dark days." It was during one of those trying times that God gave to her an unusual song that has made its way around the world.

She insists that it was no big occasion when she wrote the song which is the focus of this story. She said, "I really did not sit down one day and decide to write an incredible song that will touch nations." She has been surprised and humbled by all of the attention that the song has gotten, because she realizes that the song came as a gift from God. She did not think of herself as a songwriter, although she has written songs since age 15.

She related that it was a very "dark" day in her life, in 1993, and the burdens which weighed her down were so heavy. There seemed to be no way out of the situation, save for the hand of God. As every Christian should do in a time of perplexity and heaviness, she turned to the Word of God-to Psalm 96. During the reading of the psalm her mind was completely centered on the heavenly Father.

She sat down at an old piano that her parents had given her when she was only five years old. Her hands fell on the keys and she began to improvise, when suddenly she found a song flowing from her heart, and from Psalm 96, the Scriptures that she had just read. She continued to sing it, again and again. Through the singing of her song she realized that her depression had lifted and that her faith and joy in the Lord had returned.

During the following days her mind was continually on the song. She began to think the Lord had given her a worship song. She reluctantly mentioned it to Geoff Bullock, at that time the music pastor at Hills Christian Life Center, and Russell Fragar, telling them that she had written what she thought to be a worship song. They insisted that she play and sing it for them. Between apologies for the song, and in spite of a fit of nervousness, she agreed to do so. She later confessed that her hands were so sweaty and shaky that it was difficult for her to play the piano. Fearful and shy about the whole situation, she asked Bullock and Fragar to turn and face the wall, looking away from her. As she finished the song they turned around and said the song was magnificent. Darlene was convinced that they were only being polite.

Some time later her pastor, Brian Houston, heard the song and predicted that it would be sung around the world. How accurate his prediction has become! The song quickly made it's way to many other nations. Darlene said, "We hadn't even recorded it and I began to receive letters from people all over the world who had sung the song in their churches." It was later put on an album titled, "Shout to the Lord."

Darlene continues to be an integral part of the music ministry of Hills CLC, all the while writing songs and recording them. She has many albums to her credit and has performed throughout her native Australia, as well as Great Britain and other European countries. She has had approximately fifty songs published. Darlene and Mark have three children.

Reflection: When you and I come before the Lord, realizing through His Word that He not only made everything, but has everything under His control, then we, as Darlene Zschech, will see that the Lord will bring happiness, comfort, and blessings-perhaps not with a song, but with the sweet assurance that He loves us greatly.

Lindsay Terry has been a song historian for more than 40 years, being published in
a number of publications, including Pulpit Helps. He has also written
some 34 books and church training manuals.

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