Everyone faces hardships in their lives. On the up side, there are others who are definitely going through something worse. On the down side, that knowledge absolutely does not help alleviate any of the suffering you experience. All you can think of of is “let it end please…” or something similar, and then you promise the world for that to happen.

When I was doing my Military Service, I suffered heat exhaustion right after a few rounds running around the infamous Peng Kang Hill. When you have heat exhaustion, the first thing you experience (at least for me) is tunnel vision. You start to see static like a broken television and everything becomes really dark. Following that, your body starts to numb and your pace slows to a crawl. It is then that your real friends notice your distress and try to encourage you to the finish line. I will never forget how my buddy, a non-believer then, tried to recite Bible verses from his catholic school days to spur me on because he knew I was a Christian. In the end, I never made it to the finish line, despite trying my best not to disappoint my friends; I fell almost face first instead on to the rocky pathway when both my legs clamped up together in the worst muscle spasm of my life.

I blacked out and was driven away by the medics to the nearest military clinic where I was given heat exhaustion treatment that involved a large fan and a bucket of ice. I was awake during the treatment, and even though I could hardly move on that metal bed, I felt that icy-water being poured over my 100 Degree Celsius burning body like a hundred needles piercing through my skin repeatedly. I begged the medics to switch off the fan blowing at me the whole time, and all I could think of is “Please get me out of there” and “Give me another chance…” On hindsight, I knew my mind was not thinking straight because the thing I wanted another chance for.. was to finish the run around that stupid hill.

Later that day, I was taken to Alexander Hospital for further treatment and hospitalization. I stayed there for three days and a lot of my civilian friends and relatives came to visit me and honestly speaking, it was quite an enjoyable break from the training I had been going through for the last six months. The doctor told me I was lucky not to have suffered a heat stroke (where other trainees before me have suffered permanent brain damage) and that I should “take it easy” when I go back to training. Needless to say, that gave me no comfort at all because the next phase of training will be even tougher than the last, and taking it easy did not seem like an option. I was so stressed on that last night at the hospital that instead of distracting myself with MTV, I went on my knees and prayed. It was the most earnest and honest prayer I could think of and it went like this:

Lord, if you want me to live, I’ll live. If you want me to die, then I’ll die. It’s not my problem anymore. Amen.

That night I slept like a baby. I was discharged the next day and even though I went back to training, I survived and eventually graduated from it. There were many surprises along the way but through it all, I remembered that prayer and surrendered not to the hard times, but to the Lord for “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. – Job 12:10”.