Since the beginning of the panic of 2020, the sheer magnitude of the change in our lives has been extraordinary. The emotional roller coaster of the transition from a booming economy to one on the brink of economic disaster has been nothing short of mind numbing.
The US economy went from 3.5% unemployment rate in February 2020 to over 14.7% less than 60 days later. It was the sharpest increase in the unemployment rate since the Great depression.
In much the same way, the nation was equally as shocked when Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. I remember that night so clearly because only days before the political pundits were predicting a massive landslide for Hillary Clinton.
Virtually every commentator’s attempt to dismiss the election results and to point the finger at collusion, Russian interference, social media interference or a myriad of other supposed causes, failed to consider the hand of God or Divine Providence. In fact, I would suspect any commentator who thought that would be reluctant to say it in our secular society.
With the panic of 2020, the pandemic or COVID-19, it is significantly more challenging to dismiss its causes despite efforts of so many to do so. While many any are bewildered, people of faith are not.
In 2014, I walked across United States to raise awareness of the needs of children with emotional and behavioral issues and with developmental disabilities. During my journey of over 140 days, I experienced a faith reawakening in which I realized, even though I conceptually understood it, that God really was in control. I just had to accept it, to believe, to have faith.
In life, I do not always understand why things happen the way they do but candidly it is not important that I do. It is much more important that I stay grounded in my faith and put my trust in my Savior.
People who are not of faith must find this concept incredibly difficult to understand. It must be hard to not be able to see the guiding hand of God in all that happens in life.
I began my walk across United States as a walk of atonement and a walk of gratitude. Then one day prior to the walk, a person asked me if I would dedicate the walk to help children with disabilities. I said that I would. I did not understand until much later that it was the hand of God that brought us together because that simple question and my response changed my life forever.
We may never fully understand why challenges are placed before us the way that they are. In truth, it is not important that we understand. However, it is important that we accept those challenges and deal with them.
I would certainly prefer the comfort of the financial systems in place prior to the panic of 2020 but I cannot change that. I can accept it, deal with it, pray about it, or I could attempt to fight it. No amount of fighting the pandemic or its initial aftermath will solve the problem. Only by accepting reality and, in my case, seeking inspiration and guidance from the Holy Spirit will we be able to handle this crisis. I realize that God is in control.
Others will attempt to deal with the issue and challenges in their own way and may feel that they are actually the ones in control.
I do not know why the panic of 2020 occurred. I do know that it has caused all of us to question the role of government, to challenge the power of our governors, to question those in leadership positions, to question our own stamina and ability to deal with such adversity. Perhaps that is what the Panic is intended to have us do.
Perhaps the panic of 2020 will be the opportunity for us to value our families from whom we may have been separated due to the quarantine. Perhaps those of us who attended church on a regular basis may find out that we missed it when we were not able to attend and strengthen our resolve to attend.
There is a possibility that many people will no longer take for granted things that we used to take for granted.
We may all find that the little things in life, those things that seem to be so trivial, were perhaps the things that we should have been focused on. Each person will learn something different from this experience.
Despite all the plans that we have made and are making, it is possible that we may realize that as a result of the panic of 2020, many of those decisions and plans are not within our control. Perhaps God has something else in store for us. Perhaps we must keep an open mind to see what He wants us to see, to do what He wants us to do, and act the way He wants us to act.
Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) represents the 101st District in the PA House of Representatives. He is a retired Marine Reserve Colonel, a CPA and specializes in corporate restructuring. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at [email protected]. Our website is www.repfrankryan.com