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Out of the Shadows

"I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth."1

The year 1741 was a very depressing one for George Frideric Handel. His latest opera failed. His Italian opera company in London was disbanded. That same year Queen Caroline passed away and the commissions Handel had received for composing music for royal occasions all but dried up. A stroke experienced several years prior not only affected him physically, but affected his music. It seemed as if he had lost the genius that made his music so popular.

Late that year Charles Jennens, a poet known by few, sent Handel a manuscript with a request that Handel set it to music. When Handel read the copy, the words gripped him. Suddenly he came alive. Immediately he began to put the words to music. He labored all through that night and much of the following day. In fact, he worked day and night for 22 more days barely stopping to eat or sleep.

When his composition was finished he sensed that it would be a true masterpiece. His Messiah was performed the following year and was an immediate success.

The words that Jennens wrote that inspired Handel and lifted him out of the pit of despair were about the Savior: "He was despised and rejected of men. He looked for someone to have pity on him, but there was no man. He trusted in God. God did not leave his soul in hell. I know that my Redeemer lives. Rejoice. Hallelujah!"

I would dare to suggest that it was the period of disappointment and despair that prepared Handel in heart and mind to write this masterpiece of musical genius. How grateful we are that he invested his pain wisely.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for putting the gift of music in the heart and mind of mankind. And thank You for using George Frideric Handel to give us the awe-inspiring Messiah.' Help me to find music in my sorrows and so bless others through my pain. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Job 19:25 (NIV).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.