Finding clarity in times of suffering


Michael and Rachael Thompson with their eight children


Michael Thompson reflects on life's unexpected bumps

On the first Friday in February, northern Illinois was hit with a snow storm. In the late afternoon, OneWay President Michael Thompson and his wife, Rachel, responded to pleas from their younger kids to head to the sledding hills.


At the bottom of one run, Michael’s sled took a hard hit on a large bump. In an instant, his childlike joy turned to very adultlike pain and suffering, and life hasn’t been the same since. A trip to the emergency room confirmed that he fractured a vertebrae in his lower spine.


We wanted to publicly share a recent note he shared with our team asking for prayer:


If you haven’t heard, I recently broke my back. I am in recovery mode, and desperately wanting to get back to the action of life and ministry as I knew it just a few weeks ago. The last three weeks have likely been the hardest I have ever had in my cozy, prosperous, exciting, largely suffering-free life.


What started out as a broken back has led to a series of unpredictable, unstable, out-of-my-control experiences that seem to bleed into each other. It seems that when I exit one scary trial, the next one is in line, ready to take its turn.


The details are less important, but the bottom line is that I have had some — and I don’t say this lightly — SCARY experiences, including dreams, thoughts and health issues that press in on me day after day.


I keep waiting for the day when I have a good night’s sleep, a sharp sound mind and the life in me to get back to the action. I want to engage fully in extraordinarily exciting war efforts — and yes, I do mean war. Our struggle is not against just flesh and blood, and that has never been more clear to me.


In light of that, I do not want to sensationalize or make a big deal, but I have on a few occasions, mostly in the night, experienced fear, panic and even a sense of the possibility of dying. This is so extremely unlike me, and has driven me to see how fragile life is and how dependent on God I really am.


A great lesson for me is this: SO WHAT? Jesus loves me and is present. He is in control, and I will hide in Him like never before.


In the midst of trials, somehow things can get more and more clear. The greatest clarity I have received in recent days is that we absolutely, positively need God alone. EVERYTHING else is just vaporware! Every breath we take is from Him. In every situation, from every angle, we need Him.


Oh, that God would impress this simple truth on us now and always — apart from Him we can do nothing, we have nothing, we are nothing.


I would so very much appreciate prevailing prayer for physical, spiritual and mental health, as well as wholeness and deliverance. That said, if there is more work He intends to accomplish through light and momentary suffering and trials, we say “Amen” to that as well.


Lastly, I know that many of you, our dear friends and partners in this mission, are suffering as well. We would count it a blessing to pray on your behalf. Please share with us your prayer request here: