by Dale Reeves
Yesterday in our worship experience at Christ’s Church several members of our worship team debuted a song that you may have heard on the radio recently, “Battle Is the Lord’s.” It was recently written and recorded by my good friend, Grammy-Award winning artist, Rebecca St. James. I have known Rebecca and her family for many years, as I worked alongside “Bec,” helping her write several of her books while she was very busy traveling on the road from venue to venue. I was fortunate to be able to travel with her Australian family a number of times throughout the years doing concerts, public appearances, and interviews—leading many people into a very intimate time of worship with their God.
The past few years Rebecca took a break away from the stage and the recording studio so that she could focus her time and energy on being the best wife and “mum” she could be. Now, several years and three kids later, she is back at using her musical talents to bless the church. She and her husband Cubbie have two beautiful daughters (six-year-old Gemma and two-year-old Imogen), and just welcomed their first son, River, into their home.
After a seven-year hiatus, Rebecca is back in the studio, recording music and hosting her own podcast, “Rebecca St. James Friends and Family.” I recently told Bec that we were excited to be introducing “Battle Is the Lord’s” to our church during worship and asked her to provide some background behind that song, as well as to share what God has been teaching her during this season of her life.
What would lead Rebecca to head back out of her cozy home and into the studio and onto the stage again? She believes that God’s call to upend her life in California and move back to Nashville with her family was for such a time as this. In her words . . .
“About three years ago, God very clearly called me back to music ministry during a show in Alaska. It was one of the more transformative experiences of my life! I went on stage for my few songs believing that I might never sing consistently again (and being at peace with that) to walking offstage knowing that God was calling me back to music! He just got a hold of my heart in a very kind of Damascus experience way, like scales falling from my eyes, and I knew in this one moment of time, that God had called me back to ministry. Soon after, God started bringing opportunities my way with a Christmas tour with my brothers (Joel and Luke) in For King and Country, and then a new recording contract to record a worship album. God is so good and kind and truly leads us when we ask him to!”
Being offstage for a number of years has given Rebecca a fresh well from which to draw material that she is writing these days. I asked her what God has been teaching her husband Cubbie and her this past year in 2020. She said:
“I am somewhat of a type A person and like to be active and productive in my life. I also have FOMO sometimes (fear of missing out!) which drives me to do more than I should at points! But this highly unusual season of life this year has taught me a few things. It has freshly reminded me to go to God with my fears of the unknown and things I can’t control. It has also scaled back our activities as a family (we have three kids six-years-old and under), and that has been very refreshing and connecting for us.”
One of Rebecca’s main goals for this season of ministry is that she would be part of an arsenal that God would use to equip his church during this tumultuous time. She desires to bring some new songs to the table that are fresh, anointed, and Holy Spirit-led—songs the church can use in their corporate worship settings. I think she, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, has accomplished that. If you haven’t heard her latest album, check it out here.
Rebecca shares, “When I hung up my music hat seven years ago and unofficially retired, I had some vocal issues caused by stress related to singing. I thought that it was unlikely that these would be completely healed in my lifetime. I loved being a full-time wife and mama and felt fulfilled in my new role. But when God called me back to music, I had to deal head-on with the emotional and physical elements connected with my vocal weakness. It was very scary and challenging! But I saw God go before me and give me the help that I needed to move through to a new place of strength and wholeness. I am so grateful!”
If you have not heard the song, “Battle Is the Lord’s,” you can listen here. The backstory of this song is from the biblical account of King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah that is found in 2 Chronicles 20. A vast army was coming against them and Jehoshaphat and the people came together to seek help from God. The Spirit of the Lord spoke to them and said, “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s’” (2 Chronicles 20:15, NIV). Then God directed the king to appoint singers and go out in front of the army, and they marched against the enemy of God’s people. As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the armies of Ammon and Moab, and Israel enjoyed a great victory that day. That is the power of praising our God. What a timely reminder for all of us today!
Faith Over Fear
I asked Rebecca what she hoped would be people’s response to this song. Why is it so important for us to believe and walk in the fact that the battle really is not ours—but God’s? Rebecca concludes:
“I pray that everyone who hears and sings this song will worship God through it and connect with him. I pray that they will be reminded of the truth of God’s great power! We do not have to fear or be discouraged—for he is with us.
I know in this challenging year, with the curveballs we’ve been thrown, I’ve had to take my thoughts captive more and not allow myself to go down rabbit trails of fear and worry. I hope that this song encourages others to do the same and to trust that God really is in control!”