Health, School

I am Case #416. This is what got me through my battle against COVID-19

By Josiah Tan , 1 May 2020

I am Josiah Tan and I am Case #416.

I was doing my undergraduate studies in London when the coronavirus outbreak happened, and after a whirlwind few days I made the decision to go back to Singapore around mid-March. After I landed, I felt slightly unwell with a throat irritation, but I thought it was just a normal flu as I did not display the other symptoms associated with COVID-19.

However, some friends I met a few days before flying back started to have a high fever, and that was when I realised I probably did have COVID-19.

After getting tested at NCID, I felt a kind of dreadful anticipation, like when you’re waiting to get the results on a test you know you messed up on.

At first I felt shocked, as I did not think I would get it, especially since I started taking precautions such as washing my hands thoroughly – in fact the skin on my hands was dry from all the soap and sanitiser I used by the time I returned.

After I went for my test at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), I felt a kind of dreadful anticipation, kind of like when you’re waiting to get the results on a test you know you messed up on. Sure enough, the next morning, I received a call from NCID confirming that I tested positive.

Learning that I had tested positive actually brought me a strange sense of relief.

At least I knew for sure I had the coronavirus, so from that point, I somehow felt a sense of peace even though my immediate family was in shock and full of worry.

A selfie I took in the ambulance on the way to the NCID. Photo: Josiah Tan.

A selfie I took in the ambulance on the way to the NCID. Photo: Josiah Tan.

After being admitted to the hospital, thankfully, my symptoms weren’t too severe throughout, and it was not too long before I felt well.

With so much time on my hands during isolation, I thought I should take chance to draw closer to God. In the lead-up to Good Friday, I opened up my Bible and read through the book of Romans.

As I read, I was reminded of God’s love for us, most seen in the salvation that we have in Jesus Christ.

I was reminded that I had a hope in Jesus no matter the circumstances; that in the face of sickness and suffering, I had a God that was greater than these. Each day as I worshipped in my ward or room, I could feel the presence of God there and then, reminding me that He was there by my side no matter what.

For example, the lyrics of the song Whom Shall I Fear – I know who goes before me/I know who stands behind/The God of angel armies/Is always by my side – gave me the assurance me that He was with me throughout this sickness, and that I could trust in His faithfulness.

To sum up my experience with COVID-19, what could have been a period of fear and anxiety became a period of growing faith, hope and peace.

I knew I had nothing to fear and that God was in control of everything. This source of hope and strength was what brought me through this season.

For example, I had an unusual peace that stayed with me throughout my isolation period. I believe that peace was “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

The view from my room in the isolation facility. Photo: Josiah Tan

The view from my room in the isolation facility. Photo: Josiah Tan

My friends in church also made that period a lot more bearable, knowing that I had a community to walk through life with. Throughout my isolation period, they constantly checked in with me, letting me know that not only did I have God with me, but also a God-given community to journey with me.

I knew I had nothing to fear, and that God was in control of everything.

My church family even took time to pray for me during an online service, and mobilised a team to help my family with any needs they had while they saw out their Home Quarantine Order.

Having their prayers and company (online!) was a comfort to me while I was being isolated.

To those who are reading: If you want to have a source of real hope amid whatever you’re facing, whether it’s COVID-19 or any other worry in life, I encourage you to open your heart to Jesus. Knowing Jesus got me through the illness – and I know He’s always going to be there for me.

Who is Jesus, you ask? He’s the Prince of Peace and the hope of the nations. He stands at your door and knocks. Won’t you open your heart to answer Him?


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