Handel’s “Hallelujah!”

A devotion on Romans 15:13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.
–Romans 15:13

George Frederick Handel had lost his health, his company, and his wealth.

In 1737, the composer suffered a mild stroke, paralyzing his right side. His money gone, creditors were threatening to throw him in jail. Handel went through a time of discouragement, but instead of giving up, his faith became stronger.

Four years later, restored to health and celebrated throughout England for his musical prowess, Handel composed two of his masterpieces: “Samson” and “The Messiah,” which includes the transcendent “Hallelujah Chorus.”

On April 13, 1742, to a packed house of 700 people (women were asked not to wear the fashionable hoops in their skirts, to make room for more attendees), “The Messiah” was first performed.

The contralto was a woman of great notoriety, whose personal life and scandals were the stuff of tabloid fodder. Yet when she sang Handel’s moving text, one of the clergy in the audience famously stood and shouted, “Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee!”

The God of hope who helped Handel can also help you.

Let Him fill you with the joy and peace that comes from believing. Remember what the apostle John wrote, “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

Prayer

God in heaven, Please give me faith that sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and hopes in the hopeless. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Reflection

How can difficult situations help me to grow my relationship with Jesus?