In his book The Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, Patrick Kavanaugh discusses George Frideric Handel’s musical masterpiece Messiah. An unpredictable composer at best, Handel spent much of his up-and-down career moving from one failure to another. In those days bankruptcy wasn’t an option, and by 1741, Handel was drowning in debt. Without a miracle, prison was inevitable. He decided to perform his farewell concert and retire a failure at age fifty-six. But when a friend handed him a libretto on the life of Jesus based on selected Scriptures from the Bible, everything changed. Handel threw himself into writing and composing, and in a staggering stretch completed Part One in six days, Part Two in nine days, and Part Three six days later. He worked feverishly, driven by one overwhelming purpose. Servants left meals outside his door, afraid to disturb him. Once, when a servant did find the courage to open the door, the startled composer cried out, with tears streaming down his face, ‘I think I did see all heaven before me, and the great God Himself!’ He had just finished the much-celebrated ‘Hallelujah Chorus’. What a comeback story – and the Bible is filled with them! The first forty-one chapters in the book of Job describe all that he had lost: his health, his wealth, and his family. Then, in the last chapter we read, ‘The Lord restored his fortunes…The Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning’ (vv. 10-12 NLT). And what God did for George Frideric Handel, and for Job, He can do for you when you put your life in His hands.
‘The LORD restored his fortunes.’
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