The Wilderness, Wondering and waiting on God

It was 1741, and an old man was wandering the streets of London. His name was George Frederick Handel. At this point, he was angry at life. His mind was full of despair and hopelessness about the future, the applause was gone, a cerebral hemorrhage paralyzed his right side. He could no longer write, and doctors gave little hope for recovery. Queen Caroline, who had been his staunch supporter, died. England found itself on hard economic times, and heating large auditoriums for concerts was not permitted. His performances were canceled, and he began to wonder where God was.

Then one night, as he returned from his walk, Charles Jennens was waiting at his home. Jennens explained that he had just finished writing a text for a musical that covered both the Old and New Testaments, and believed that Handel was the man to set it to music. Handel was indifferent as he began to read the words which Jennens had put together. But then his eyes fell on such words as ‘He was despised, rejected of men. . . he looked for someone to have pity on him, but there was no man; neither found he any to comfort him.’ His eyes raced ahead to the words: ‘He trusted in God. . . God did not leave his soul in hell. . . He will give you rest.’ And finally his eyes stopped on the words: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth.’ He picked up his pen the Spirit of God was moving, and music seemed to flow through him. He finished the first part in only seven days. The second section was completed in six days.

Many will remember that when the classical work was first performed in London, and the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ was sung by the choir, King George II was so moved that he stood to his feet. To this day, people still rise to their feet as the chorus is sung in praise to God. Some times in the wilderness periods we lose hope, but often following the wilderness wondering are times of out greatest production.

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