“August 22, 1741, was a sweltering day in the city of London. An elderly stooped-shouldered man wandered through the streets. His nightly aimless wandering through the streets of the city had become a familiar ritual. His angry mind raced back to the memories of great adulation and then looked at a future of seemingly hopeless despair. For forty years the bachelor had written operatic music which was the rave of royalty in both England and the entire continent. Honors had fallen at his feet. He was in demand everywhere. Then things changed quickly and drastically. Fellow musicians became jealous and bitter. Members of the royal court reacted strongly to his abrasive manner. A rival gained great success, and envy began to grow. As though that were not enough, a cerebral hemorrhage paralyzed his right side. He could no longer write. Doctors gave little hope for recovery.
The old composer traveled to France and began to soak in baths rumored to have miraculous powers. Doctors warned him about staying in the scalding water for such long periods of time but he ignored their advice. At one point, he stayed in for nine hours at a time. Gradually his weakened muscles began to receive new life. As his health improved, he once again began to write. Soon, to his amazement, his works were being received with rapturous applause. Honors again began to flow. Life seemed to be heading for the stars. But then he found himself in the pits once more.
Queen Caroline, who had been his staunch supporter, died. England found itself on hard economic times. Wasting heat to warm a theater was viewed as ridiculous. His shows were canceled. And now he found himself wandering aimlessly through the streets once again.
Having wondered where in the world God was, he wandered back home. Opening his door, he found a wealthy gentleman waiting in his living room. The man was Charles Gibbon, who had startled England by rewriting Shakespeare.
Gibbon explained that he had just finished writing a text for a musical that covered the entire Old and New Testament. He believed that the gifted musician was the man to set it to music. He gave the manuscript to the composer and challenged him to write. As he walked out the door, Gibbon turned long enough to say, ‘The Lord gave me those words.’
The great maestro scoffed at the audacity of the young man. No one had ever challenged George Frederick Handel to write something he had not thought of first. Handel’s temper was violent and he was a dominating presence among his enemies. Why had Gibbon not brought an opera that was more the composer’s cup of tea.
Indifferently he began to read. Suddenly portions of the passage leaped from the page. 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 ‘He trusted in God…God did not leave his soul in hell…He will give you rest.’ And finally the words stopped at ‘O know that my redeemer liveth…rejoice…hallelujah.’
He picked up his pen and began to write. Music seemed to flow through his mind s though it had...Continue reading this sermon illustration (Free with PRO)
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Paul Fritz on Jul 28, 2002
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD Hudson Taylor founder of China Inland Mission) used to hang in his home a plaque with two Hebrew Words on it: EBENEZER & JEHOVAH JIREH. The first word means ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us’ and the second, ‘The Lord will see to it or provide.’ One looked back ...read more
What God Says PRO
Contributed by Paul Decker on Dec 1, 2002
WHAT GOD SAYS In the Spring of 1924, Jack Sundine was a four-year-old kid, standing in a line with his father inside the White House, waiting to meet President Calvin Coolidge. As they neared him, Jack noticed that he said something to each visitor as they shook hands. Soon, the thrilling ...read more
Contributed by George Rennau on Aug 25, 2003
An American missionary was traveling across Korea by train. At a busy station an old man boarded and sat across from Him. The man was Korean and he addressed the American in his native tongue. The Missionary responded in the only Korean phrase that he knew which was "I DON’T UNDERSTAND". A ...read more
Contributed by Paul Wallace on Sep 14, 2004
Howard Hendricks tells of a mentor who changed his life in his book Iron sharpens Iron. Howard was from a broken family, and said, "I could have lived, died and gone to hell without anyone bothering to care." However, a man named Walt from a tiny church in his neighborhood cared about reaching nine ...read more
Contributed by Rodney Buchanan on Aug 28, 2005
The Bible tells the story of Absalom. He was the son of King David — Israel’s greatest king. Through a series of circumstances, Absalom began to despise his father and made plans to become king in his father’s place. He surreptitiously sowed seeds of division and rebellion in his father’s ...read more