What a Time to Be Alive // thoughts of hope for a helpless generation

Do you know what hiraeth means?

It’s a longing, a desperate search for a place that doesn’t exist anymore, and maybe never did. When I was young, I felt it for the worlds between pages I held so dear – Narnia, Middle-Earth, the Ashtown estate. When I was older, I felt it for my worlds, the places I created but could never see or belong to. Now… my hiraeth is still with me, but it’s changed. Longing has become synonymous with grief, and I long, not for a world of fiction, but for the place my country used to be.

(Don’t panic – this isn’t a political post.)

Last week I sat on my parents’ bed, watching events unfold in my homeland and feeling the weight of a hundred lifetimes settle on my shoulders.

“How can we go back?” I asked.

How can we retake a country when so much evil has conquered it? How can we uphold righteousness, when corruption has infiltrated even the highest seats of power? Who am I, that I can stop it? What can I do but watch?

My parents didn’t answer. My parents didn’t know.

So we sat in the dark, in the silence, and I grieved. I grieved because I will never know the world my grandparents built for me. I grieved because I will never experience the kind of life my parents worked for me to have. I grieved because I am young, and my future was supposed to be bright – not swallowed in this cloud of fear and pain, this darkness. I grieved for my future children, to be brought into such a world as this.

I grieved, and I prayed, and the question swirled around and around in my head like an accusation of all my faults.

Who am I, and what can I do?

I am young, and small, and painfully inexperienced. Frail. Frightened. Helpless. Why did I have to be born into this age? Why couldn’t I have lived in a time when America truly was great – to have read the Federalist Papers as they were being published, or welcomed home the soldiers as they returned from World War II, or even just to have walked through town on a Saturday night without the ever-present fear of danger lurking the back of my mind?

Why, out of all the times I could’ve lived, did I have to live now? Now, when all I can do is exist? My existence is not enough. It never has been.

And yet.

And yet, I see the flags in my town flying half-mast, and there, from the back of my heart, comes the whisper:

What a time to be alive.

Is this how the children of Israel felt, staring at the churning depths of the Red Sea as Pharaoh’s chariots thundered toward them?

I exist.

And how lucky, how unutterably privileged my existence is, to be part of the generation God chose for such a time as this! How blessed I am to be alive during an age when history is being made, to watch it happen, to see the outcome, whether good or bad. How humbling, to know my peers and I will be raising the next Daniels, the next Esthers, the next Peters and Pauls and Josephs and Polycarps.

My heart no longer whispers. It roars—

WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!

I don’t understand what it means, and yet, when night falls and I ask myself again— Who am I, that I can stop the darkness? What can I do?

I exist.

I know God in a world that rejects Him. Isn’t that enough?

This is my rebellion. This is what I’ll teach my children, and they will teach theirs. Our hope is not in bullets or bloodshed, a republic or a democracy, Trump, Biden, or any political group that promises a better world; I know they can’t give us one. My hope is in Jesus Christ, and how He changes us – individuals, mere people. My hope is in the Word of God, its power throughout history to make men stand up against evil, its power to create civilization out of barbaric societies, its power to turn murderers into missionaries.

My hope is in my testimony. My hope is in the people who come to Christ through the work He’s done in my life. My hope is in my existence, because He gave me that.

How do we go back? By feeding our hunger for truth. How do we go back? By evangelizing the world.

How do we go back?

By going forward.

I’m still small, and my fear remains. But I look around to see the church rising from her slumber, Christian warriors donning their armor and the forces of Good and Evil preparing for battle once more.

And again, I say– what a time to be alive.

~Sarah

The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made;
In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught.
The Lord is known by the judgment He executes;
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
(Meditation. Selah)

The wicked shall be turned into hell,
And all the nations that forget God.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten;
The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.

Arise, O Lord,
Do not let man prevail;
Let the nations be judged in Your sight.
Put them in fear, O Lord,
That the nations may know themselves to be but men. (Selah)

~Psalm 9: 15-20

20 thoughts on “What a Time to Be Alive // thoughts of hope for a helpless generation

  1. Wow.

    Amen: let this be true.

    Thanks for sharing truth and reminding us who we are. I’ve been wrestling this week with the lie that I don’t or can’t know who I am. But I do—I am a priest in a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. Once I was not apart of a people, and now I am in God’s people. Once, I had not received mercy, but now I have received mercy.

    I am alive because I’ve been made alive. I have a purpose, and I know his name.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now…

    no but seriously this was a wonderfully genuine post. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  3. Thank you for posting this! ❤
    What you said is so true. I've been having the exact same feelings as you, thinking how can I stop this? What could I possibly do? And I think that to defeat the darkness, WE must be the light. We can't give up, or give in to sorrow. But having faith in Jesus, and trusting Him, and following His will, is how we can rebel against this evil. As the world tries to push us farther from Him, we need to run, as hard and as fast as we possibly can to Him.

    Like

  4. Wow, this is a wonderful and thought-provoking post! It’s so true that while it’s not really fun to be young in this time, we are privileged in that we get to see history made, and indeed make history ourselves.
    And of course, God knows best about what time He put us in!

    Like

  5. “I do believe; help my unbelief.” Thank you Sarah. I really needed this.
    —A random internet wanderer who sometimes reads your blog

    Like

  6. “I exist.”

    Do you know how deeply and beautifully powerful those two words are? I… *doesn’t find the words*… just, THANK YOU for writing this whole post. It’s SO. POWERFUL. <333

    (reading this reminded me of the song, "Saturn", by Sleeping At Last:
    "You taught me the courage of stars before you left
    How light carries on endlessly, even after death
    With shortness of breath
    You explained the infinite
    And how rare and beautiful it is to even exist")

    Like

  7. “ So we sat in the dark, in the silence, and I grieved. I grieved because I will never know the world my grandparents built for me. I grieved because I will never experience the kind of life my parents worked for me to have. I grieved because I am young, and my future was supposed to be bright – not swallowed in this cloud of fear and pain, this darkness. I grieved for my future children, to be brought into such a world as this.”

    sarah you are not allowed to do many things but stealing my heart and shredding it into many tiny pieces is near the top ow ow this is exactly how i’ve felt about far too many things hhh

    beautiful. also please give me my feelings scotchtaped together please and thank

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sarah, this is absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for this post… it came at just the right time for me.
    Hiraeth is actually a word I just learned from reading Andrew Peterson’s book, Adorning the Dark. (Have you read it? If you haven’t, GO DO IT!) I can’t even pronounce it properly, but I feel it, and I feel this post very deeply. Thanks again. 🙂

    Like

  9. This is such a beautiful, empowering post. Thank you so much for sharing this, Sarah. ❤️
    To have hope in the midst of such darkness and pain is a surreal sensation. Thank you for inspiring us all.

    Like

  10. Thank you so much for this! I freaked myself out the other day by realizing how young I’ll still be in 2050 and just how much longer I have in this crazy world, but this was a good reminder that God is still working.

    Like

  11. PREACH IT, SARAH! This is exactly what we all need to hear right now. I have so often these days felt exactly how you described your grief for our country at the beginning of your post. But yes, this is still a legendary time to be alive! “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and so you also were meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”
    Also, “There are other powers at work in this world, Frodo; besides that of evil.”
    I love that verse in Esther when Mordechai says to her, ” And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Such thrilling, true, encouraging words!

    Love you, friend! We’re all in this together. ❤

    Like

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