Faith

If you wake up from a 40-day coma, how would you live differently?

by Jewel Yu // June 10, 2021, 9:07 pm

40 Day Coma

Jason was only found 10 days later by a friend after his motorbike accident in Cambodia. All photos courtesy of Jason.

When Jason Lim embarked on a solo vacation after completing his National Service, he never expected that the much-anticipated trip would end with an epic twist of events, leaving him in a coma for 40 days.

Then aged 24, he had embarked on a “two-week glorious adventure” to Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam to celebrate his new-found freedom. But an unexpected incident abruptly cut short his plans.

After having dinner on the first day, Jason decided to go on a ride with his rented motorcycle.

“I was bored, and I decided to do some exploring. The last thing I remember is riding on a nice, peaceful road and then nothing, pitch-black darkness,” he said, recounting his misadventure at Momentum, a virtual conference organised for Christian youth last month.

Jason was told that a car had knocked him down and driven off. When he gave chase, the driver braked, causing Jason to crash head-on into the back window of the SUV.

The near-death experience left Jason with multiple injuries, including severe burns, torn ACL and PCL ligaments, dislocated knees as well as a damaged optic nerve.

The impact led to the explosion of Jason’s motorcycle, while resulting in severe injuries.

“I suffered third degree burns on the right half of my body as well as a cracked collarbone, a broken left thigh bone and dislocated knees,” recalled Jason, who went on to become a motivational speaker and coach under YOLT (You Only Live Twice), a play on the popular acronym, YOLO. 

But it wasn’t just the accident that was shocking.

The series of events that followed, including how he was found 10 days later by a friend with a death certificate in his medical records and how the hospital was later investigated for organ harvesting, were all so incredible that Jason says it could have only been possible because of God.

OPENING UP ABOUT HIS STRUGGLES

Waking up from the 40-day coma to find himself in Singapore was dramatic, to say the least. But the near-death experience also gave Jason a new perspective on life.

What if he had really died? What secrets would he have carried to his grave? What if his parents discovered that there were struggles he had never shared with them?

Describing the accident as a wake-up call and a second chance at life, Jason said this also led to him opening up to his parents about his attraction to guys – something that he had hidden from them all these years. 

Jason and his family, whom he credits for being a huge support during his recovery. 

While Jason only had feelings for girls growing up, things changed when he was 14, after he stumbled on gay pornography. But that was also the age when Jason accepted Jesus into his life. 

“I grew to love and wanted to honour God, and that’s what really held me back from pursuing a long-term relationship with a guy,” he shared.

For a while, Jason had been angry with God. “I felt like God was holding back those things from me,” he confessed.

And yet, his experience of God also convinced him otherwise – Jason knew that God had never withheld His love from him.

However, Jason continued to wrestle with the tension between his faith and his same-sex attraction (SSA) throughout his youth. And at 27 years old, he wanted to get into a relationship with a guy he liked.

“I was just so tired of fighting my desires, and I thought to myself, ‘You know what? Let’s do it. Let’s just get a boyfriend.’”

FINDING LOVE 

But that never happened because of a turning point: During a regular church service in 2017, Jason’s heart was moved when he heard God speaking to him.

“The sermon wasn’t even very special. But I had one of those inner quiet conversations with God, you know, voiceless conversations. I felt His gentle presence, a warm voice asking me if pursuing that relationship would satisfy me.”

Reflecting on that question, Jason asked himself: “Do I want the love that will span temporarily – this boyfriend relationship – or do I want love that will span eternity?

“We will never understand how much God loves us to send His only Son to die for us. As Christians we know it conceptually, but do we really understand it?”

That encounter with God was life-changing. Although Jason still had those same-sex desires, he decided that he no longer wanted to pursue them.

For the last 7 years, Jason has had many opportunities to share his story of getting a second chance at life, including on the TEDx stage. He encourages young people to live life to the fullest – but with purpose.

“Nobody made me choose not to act on my SSA. No human – it wasn’t my friends, although they were a huge support. It was God,” said Jason. 

Recalling how the love he had received from his church friends during his teenage years was one of the reasons why he didn’t leave the faith, Jason said: “When I shared my struggles with them, they said, ‘What took you so long, Jason, we love you. Let us know what we can do to support you.’ So that was really nice.”

“It was a safe space; everyone was real. There was no judgement,” he added, remembering how others would open up and share about the challenges in their own faith journey too.

“We were a cell group that wore our hearts on our sleeves. There was no need to pretend that we were perfect… But we were in church because we all knew we needed Jesus. 

“We were just free to be ourselves… we were imperfect, we were broken, and that’s why we were there. It was a space of raw authenticity.”

Conversations in the Church on same-sex attraction: How can we do better?

It has been four years since Jason made the decision to pursue God over his SSA, which the 31-year-old says is still there.

“It’s something that I have. But it doesn’t define me. It’s not my label,” he said.

“I don’t define myself as gay. I identify as a child of God. And that has changed my life. It’s made me a lot happier, and I have so much more peace in my life.”

Pointing out that life doesn’t become perfect after following Christ, Jason shared: “Nonetheless, it is in choosing God that I have truly experienced Him. The more I surrendered, the more God revealed Himself in my life.

“God still continues to surprise me, reminding me that He loves me more than I can imagine… and that’s more than enough for me.”

Explaining why he decided to come out and share his struggle publicly, Jason said: “God didn’t just save me from death. He saved me despite the fact that I was struggling with SSA.

“People need to know that I’m not the author of that amazing, ridiculous story.

“I really, really, really shouldn’t be alive. And breathing, talking, walking and Zooming with you guys here in one piece. So this is me today because God is good.”

THINK + TALK

  1. What does YOLO mean to you?
  2. If you were to look back at how you’ve lived your life so far, what would you have done differently?
  3. Are there burdens that you have been carrying alone? Who can you open up to and share your struggles with?

 

About the author

Jewel Yu

Jewel Yu is a communications and new media undergraduate at the National University of Singapore. She is an adventurer and avid lover of nature, and hopes to travel the world with her guitar, friends and family.