George Frederick Handel was dogged with misfortune. He had debt upon debt, despair upon despair. He had a cerebral hemorrhage and was paralyzed on his right side. For four years he could neither walk nor write. The doctors gave up on him. He wrote several operas, but again he fell in debt. At age 60 he thought his life was finished. Then he was challenged by a friend to write a sacred oratorio. He read the Scriptures and decided to work on the Messiah. For 24 days, without eating a crumb, he worked fanatically to produce the Messiah, which many today consider the greatest oratorio ever written.
The prospects of something great happening can look grim. Peter had fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus asked him to let down his nets for a catch. It seemed foolish to do so, because Peter knew there were no fish to catch. "But at your word," he said, "I will let down the nets" (v. 5). (from John R. Brokhoff, Preaching the Miracles)