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Nancy Kennedy

Grace Notes

With so much craziness and sadness and badness going on in the world, I’ve been trying to focus on what’s good.

Because there is good.

Horatio Spafford wrote the hymn “It is Well With My Soul” after he lost a fortune in the Chicago fire of 1871, his 4-year-old son died of scarlet fever and then all four of his daughters drowned when the ship they were on sank on the way to England; only his wife survived.

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It’s said that as he sailed to England to unite with his wife, as the ship passed over the very spot where his daughters perished, he wrote the words: “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’”

As a Christian, as a child of the all-mighty, Almighty God, even when things are so bad it seems they can’t get any worse, my hope in Christ enables me to sing, “It is well with my soul” and mean it.

And that’s good.

Here are some other good things:

* The other day three people messaged me saying they were thinking about me, that God had put my name on their hearts.

God does that sometimes. He drops a name into someone’s thoughts who then sends a note, “Hey, you matter.”

It’s God’s way of saying, “I see you. I’m thinking about you.”

* In a sermon I heard years ago, the pastor talked about people with crushed spirits, those who have endured trouble after trouble, heartache upon heartache.

The pastor’s message was simple yet powerful: God loves you, Christ’s love is more powerful than your past and that in Christ you are not who or what you used to be.

If God is for you, the scripture says, who could possibly be against you?

“But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit” (Psalm 86:15 The Message).

That’s good!

* How about this: the feel of a kitten’s fur or a fuzzy afghan blanket tucked around you, the sound of an Irish fiddle or a calming rain outside your window lulling you to sleep?

What about a sunrise over a still lake or a sunset at the beach — is there anything more glorious?

Or roasted eggplant on a toasted ciabatta roll topped with hot, melty white cheddar cheese?

* At the core of my very being I believe there is no greater joy than knowing the greatness of God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace.

* Our little cat, Fox, makes bird chirping sounds and chatters like a squirrel. She also screams when she’s excited. She’s a furry, fluffy gift of personality and delight and mischief.

* In the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress,” Martin Luther called God a “bulwark never failing,” a bulwark being a defensive wall.

He wrote: “And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us.”

The world threatens to undo us at every turn, yet God has willed that his truth will triumph through his people. Because he wins, we win, too.

* Two words: maple syrup. Sweet sap flowing from inside a tree? If that’s not proof of a good God, then I don’t know what is.

Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria — I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing” and “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.

Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com. Read more of Nancy's stories at tinyurl.com/yxt69grh

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