-by Gillian Georgiou
“First and foremost I am a woman who simply and wholeheartedly loves Christ, and serves Him through loving my family, serving the church, and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
Darlene Zschech is a singer, songwriter, worship leader and courageous woman of God. Together with her husband Mark, the duo are the senior pastors at Hope Unlimited Church in Brisbane, Sydney.
Darlene describes herself as an “addict” for the presence of the Lord. She states: “ I have always had a huge fascination with the presence of God, ever since I was first saved. I am an addict! I love his presence, I am not happy without it. It is what scares me the most in life.”
Darlene is not a stranger to the dreadful effects of cancer as both her father, as well as Mark’s fathers passed away due to the disease. However, she never expected that she would fall victim to the wrath of cancer. In December 2013, Darlene was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Darlene was confronted on every level, her humanity; thinking her time was up; fear; anxiety, all of those things – yet she remained strong in her faith, drawing on scriptures like Psalm 23 to give her strength. It was in her worst days that she found the presence of the almighty God. Darlene says that:
“He just kept asking me, do you trust me? Do you know that I love you?”
Amidst the suffering and pain, Darlene admits that it took her a little longer to answer these questions, however, she found the heart of God. God hates suffering, it breaks his heart.
Darlene notes that at times, it was too difficult to sing songs of praise and of worship. Worship is about humanity responding to His humanity, it as all about a yielded life – laying down yours and taking up your cross. Today, by the grace of God, Darlene is healed from her cancer!
Often times, we expect a ‘cookie cutter’ Christianity, but this is nowhere to be found in the Bible. John 16:33 ensures us that we will face trials and tribulations, but through God, we can overcome them. The magnificence of it all is that God is never changing; Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Worship is not dependent on our good days and our bad days; it is on His majesty, our response, and His insane faithfulness!
“Cancer is from the pit of hell. It is so difficult. I thought I knew, but I had no idea. I can see why the enemy does this, it is a 21st century leprosy.”
But our God is greater! Darlene’s life has changed a lot since the cancer; she has undertaken a lot fewer responsibilities, and prioritised having a daily Sabbath. She makes times to eat well, rest well and exercise. She listens to her body at a more intentional level, treating it like the temple of the Lord.
Darlene has just written a book that she wishes to pass on to the younger generations, as a legacy book. She uses the book to talk about God and Theology and the importance of songs as tools. The music helps to communicate what is in our hearts, as we seek Jesus at the centre of the worship, to put him on the throne.
Darlene recently attended a worship event in Rome and worked with the charismatic Catholics. She described the event as a “wonderful experience… the outpouring of the Holy spirit in Rome”. Darlene recalls a memory from the event where the Pope said, “Jesus is Lord! Say it louder!” to which the entire Vatican City roared chanting “JESUS IS LORD!” Darlene mentions that the experience of singing Amazing Grace with Andrea Boccelli was a “life dream realised”.
God said “if you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.” People are finding the Lord in all the different places. People are fearful and they need God, they are crying out!
Darlene describes: “I was challenged to the core being there, I was so honoured to be there with the same men and women who have literally laid down their lives for the Gospel and who are serving him day in and day out. The bible says the world will know us by our love, not by our self-righteousness. If we know the same Jesus, then the Holy spirit is revealing more and more of himself to us every day. As we grow in faith, we grow in love.”
Darlene is currently working on many new songs and plans to visit South Africa again as soon as she is cleared to get immunisations, as the chemotherapy has knocked her immunity.
Her latest album, In Jesus’ Name: A Legacy of Worship and Faith, includes 14 songs such as: Shout to the Lord, Worthy is the Lamb, The Potter’s Hand, and In Jesus’ Name. The song “My Highest Hope,” which Zschech wrote when she was battling cancer, will also be included in the album. The lyrics of the song express Zschech’s unflinching hope in God during her most tumultuous times, and she sang that God is her “Lord over every fear.”
You can find this album at any Christian Art (CUM) store nationwide.