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This globally popular Christian praise song was written by Australian worship leader Darlene Zschech in 1993. It was written during a time when Zschech was struggling with money worries and the stresses of raising a young family. One day, when she was feeling particularly discouraged she slipped into the toy room where they kept their piano and put into song some biblical truths to which the stressed young mother was holding onto, in particular drawing from the Psalms. Zschech explained to Today's Christian Woman: "I wrote it when I was feeling discouraged. I felt I could either scream and pull my hair out, or praise God." She added: "The line "Nothing compares to the promise I have in you" was something I clung to when our circumstances seemed so bleak. I think that rings true with anyone going through tough times."
This was the title track of a best-selling worship album by Zschech's Hillsong Church, which was released in 1996 in America. Since then, the song's been sung by congregations worldwide by an estimated 25-30 million churchgoers every Sunday. It has also been performed for the Pope at the Vatican and for the American President. However Zschech was embarrassed the first time she played it for the worship pastor at her church. She told Today's Christian Woman: "I made him stand with his back to me on the other side of the room! I'd play four bars and say, 'I don't know if this is any good. Change whatever you need to.' But he liked it, and the first time we sang it at church, people were on their feet singing along before we'd even gotten the words on the screen. It took off from there. I can't take any credit for its impact. God decided to put his blessing on this song."
A download-only recording by the 8 finalists of the 2008 American Idol competition took this worship song into the Top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100. The 8 had originally performed this at the end of the 2008 Idol Gives Back charity special.
According to Christianity Today
it was the 1980s singer/percussionist Sheila E. who suggested this song to the American Idol
producers. Shelia E was also a judge for The Next Great American Band
, produced by the same company as Idol
and though ultimately it wasn't used, the producers loved the song so much, they waited for the right opportunity to use it later.
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