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Turbulence and Trust

By Jack Neary

A few weeks ago, I was on an airplane traveling from Boston to upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm. The plane was basically a bus with wings – only about 36 feet long with a maximum capacity of ten people. From the third row, I could watch the pilots work the controls & see directly out the front windscreen. In the middle of our flight, we flew through a thick set of clouds and my vision out the windows was completely obscured. At the same time, we began to hit turbulence. The plane was pitching up and down, forward and backward, and side to side. My entire body clenched up and my hands found a death grip on my arm rests. After one particularly stomach-turning piece of turbulence, I closed my eyes, focused on my breath, and prayed. Suddenly, I thought about this verse from Deuteronomy:

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

During the flight, I was forced to confront the question of whether I trusted the pilots to get me through the storm. In life, I am confronted with an even more serious question: Do I trust God to guide me? This semester, the Capital Fellows and the pastors of the Capital Pres Family discussed the mindsets we have when we consider ourselves to be children of God versus when we consider ourselves spiritual orphans. I realized that although I pay lip service to a deep, abiding trust in God, I often live in a state of “functional atheism.” I am anxious about my needs. I try to control my life’s direction. I think my plan is best, but I’m also filled with worry that it is not. In short, I fail to trust the Lord with control over my life.

Trust requires me to let go, to hold things with a loose grip. This was hard to imagine while I was white-knuckling the armrests of the miniature plane. It’s also hard to imagine as I send job applications out into the ether, trusting some combination of providence, networking, and strong, action verbs to guide my resume into the right hands. This semester, I’m learning to live out of a growing assurance that God loves me and will take care of me. It’s difficult and humbling to give up control. But gradually, I’m beginning to lean in, to let go, and to loosen my grip. Thank God for that.


Recent Capital Fellows Pictures

The infamous plane in question

Two of the founding members of a potential folk rock revival band

Proud cooks of a "Venetian Night" themed Capital Commons dinner


Become A Capital Fellow in 2022-23

We are now receiving applications for Season 16 of the Capital Fellows program!


IMPORTANT: SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES TO WORK AT MCLEAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - Most fellows work in the marketplace - for companies, nonprofits, government offices. We are also looking for a Worship Fellow to join our worship team at the church. This is a special Capital Fellows opportunity because you are not only paid a salary, but also your Capital Fellows program fees are covered as well!

The Season 16 program year runs from late August 2022 through mid-May 2023. If you are a college senior or recent graduate - or know someone that is - we would love to hear from you!


Pray for the Capital Fellows

Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week!

In the coming week, the Capital Fellows will be meeting with the Deacons of our church to talk about jobs. For several years, the Deacons have been helping the Fellows make job connections with people in our church and around the DC area. A handful of Fellows already have jobs or graduate school plans, but several are still in the process of searching for their post-Fellows work. Please pray that the meetings with the Deacons and other leaders in the church will produce job opportunities for our Fellows.

Want to pray for the Capital Fellows throughout the year? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.

Capital Fellows Class Brochure - for Phones
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Benefits of The Fellows Initiative

You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 32 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. Capital Fellows benefit from our affiliation with The Fellows Initiative in many ways. One of those ways is that all Capital Fellows alumni receive a 33% tuition discount at Reformed Theological Seminary for 5 years. For more information, please contact us.

If you know a church in the US or Canada that would benefit from joining The Fellows Initiative by launching a new fellows program. Please contact TFI by visiting their website.


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