Here in the Wilderness

Each week during the 2015-2016 Fellows year, this blog will feature reflections from the Fellows class of 2016. This week's reflection comes from Ryan Haynes (Fredricksburg, VA - UVA).

Via Ferrata at Nelson Rocks, WV.   Photo by Brittany Fan.  

Via Ferrata at Nelson Rocks, WV.  Photo by Brittany Fan. 

We have officially survived three weeks of the Trinity Fellows Program.  From orientation sessions to lake-side lunches, from climbing rock faces to Rockbridge Alum Springs, from host family dinners to learning at the Thursday theology classes; this is only a taste of where we have been in the past three weeks, and a foretaste of the remaining year that awaits us.  

There are so many expectations for this transitional, yet formative year: find your identity, find your calling, find your passions, find life-long friends, find community, find a job at the very least.  Of all of the things that we will undoubtedly find this year, I have been struck more in these first three weeks by what I cannot run away from.  Whether in West Virginia, the law offices of Jenkins & Jenkins, the McCarthy home, or the stillness of Trinity outside of Sunday mornings, I have been constantly aware of the love that not only surrounds us, but the Love that lives in us.  

It has been pointed out to me by the prophets of the Bible and men much wiser than myself that our lives as Christians will be spent waiting in the wilderness.  Waiting.  This is all too true when I look down the road to a life that I can hardly envision, and I wait.  Yet just as the reality of the wilderness surrounds me, the goodness of the Lord draws nearer still.  In this season of "in between" that I am slowing learning is not just a season, but a state of being as a follower of Jesus, I wait on life.  I can be prayerful, forward-thinking, and proactive as I strive for the life planned for me, but ultimately I wait.  I wait on a career.  I wait on marriage, and a family.  I wait on interviews and job opportunities.  I wait to be changed.  But even more, I wait eagerly for the hope of glory.  And what better place to see the splendor of the Lord than in the heart of the wilderness.  

As we have run from place to place these first three weeks, we have always been met at our destination by God himself who anxiously waits to pour out his love for us and reveal his love in us.  Even more so have I discovered that we do not wait alone in the wilderness.  For we are surrounded by both a great cloud of witnesses, and Emmanuel, God with us.  Waiting in the wilderness, we have the choice to adhere to fear, or to abide in Christ.  But Christ is your life, as so often you will hear at Trinity.  Why, then, would we let fear dictate our lives?  Why would we let fear keep us from the fullness of the measure of Christ that is available to us right here and right now?  Even here in the wilderness we cannot escape - why would we ever want to? - the love that Jesus gave for us when he said, "This is my body given for you" and "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." So while we wait in eager expectation for the year ahead or the years to follow, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, that we might eat and be satisfied in him and him alone.

While at UVa, Ryan discovered a passion for teaching and mentoring high school students and team-building through Young Life, a national youth mentoring and youth ministry organization. He has been involved in youth mentorship and leadership development programs and sees this as a key part of his vocational calling. Ryan is currently discerning further education in sports administration or business management. He is also contemplating seminary and is using his Fellows year to discern between a career in business and vocational ministry. He has worked as a trail riding guide and served at both Lake Champion Camp and Saranac Village in New York, Young Life youth camps and conference centers.