Son of atheist lost all hope after near-fatal accident


By Mark Ellis –

Mike Cain

He grew up in a house without God and never went to church. “I never heard about God, never knew Jesus, never went to a Christian service,” Mike Cain told a gathering at Rock Harbor Church in Mission Viejo, California.

“My dad was a strong atheist and I followed suit,” he said.

At 16 Mike suffered a near-fatal car accident. “I broke my back, my neck, and lost teeth. The worst is that I broke my skull and had a traumatic brain injury. I was in chronic pain for two years and had a migraine headache that never went away.”

He couldn’t attend school or be involved in sports.

On a spiritual plane, it confirmed his father’s teaching. “I thought if this could happen to me there can’t be a God, there’s just no way. I gave up and was lost.”

“I didn’t want to be alive anymore and hung out with the lost.”

Soon he got in trouble with drugs and alcohol, which reached a crisis when he was 20 and got two DUIs. Rather than go to jail, he chose a reform program.

Five years after his accident, he started feeling better physically and mentally. He enrolled in college and got a degree in biology and eventually a doctorate.

He married, had two kids and landed a great job. “My pride was at an all-time high. It was all me. I had an answer for everything. I could out-will anything. I didn’t need anybody or anything.”

Mike’s high self-opinion was not shared by everyone. His wife divorced him and he lost his job.

His first major life crisis was a result of the accident, which affected him physically, but this time he suffered mentally and emotionally.

He struggled with suicidal feelings, but kept pushing himself forward because of his two children.

He wondered, Is this all there is to life? There’s got to be something more that I’m not seeing, something I can’t grasp.

Then Mike met a Christian woman named Ashly who seemed different than others he met. “She had a kind of grace and peace I couldn’t put my finger on.”

He began to share openly about his turbulent past because he wanted an honest foundation for their relationship. “I thought this was the last conversation I was going to have with her because she would run away,” he said.

“I told her everything I ever did, about my problems with the law, problems with my marriage, and my faults.”

She shocked him when she didn’t run. Instead, she said, “If Christ can forgive me for what I’ve done, how can I not forgive you?”

Mike didn’t know how to process her statement. “It didn’t make any sense to me, because our past defines who we are.”

He thought to himself, She doesn’t know what she’s getting into. She should be running in the other direction.

Mike went to church with Ashly for the first time in his life at Rock Harbor Church in Mission Viejo, California. “It was weird. They sang weird songs and I didn’t know the words to these songs. I thought everybody was looking at me.”

Pastor Chad Haliburton began his message that day, which Mike said nailed him to his core. Then the Holy Spirit brought a spirit of conviction and repentance.

“Something weird was happening,” he noticed. “Something just broke.”

Mike left the service, got into his car, and broke down sobbing for a half hour.  He looked back at his life and could see God had been with him the entire time. “He was there in the hard times, the very difficult times, trying to reach me through people and events but I wouldn’t hear it.”

Mike momentarily felt guilty, but then he was surprised by the audible voice of God: That’s not from me. I don’t want you to feel guilty. I’ve always loved you. I’ve been trying to reach you, but you couldn’t hear me. Your pride was getting in the way.

Suddenly, everything in Mike’s world looked different. “That whole next week I was walking around looking at people and nature and thinking, This was here the whole time and I didn’t see it?  It was like an awakening.”

The next week Mike attended church for the second time and Pastor Chad did something very unexpected. He stopped abruptly in the middle of his sermon and said, “Someone has to accept Christ right now.”

Mike immediately stood up. “It was like I was pulled out of my chair. There was a guiding voice telling me what to do. I had to make a choice. I said yes.

Because he said yes to Jesus as his Savior and Lord, his life has been transformed. “Nothing has been the same since then. I realized I wasn’t a mistake, some evolutionary byproduct. I had a purpose. I was made for a reason.

“I was home. It didn’t mean everything was going to be easy. This past year I’ve lost my career. We’ve been on welfare. We’ve had to have food from food kitchens in the area and help from friends. In the past I would have been lost, but I’m not lost anymore, because I’m found in him.

He tells me who I am. He tells me I have worth. He tells me I’m important and I’m not a product of my past. He is not going to judge me. He’s going to guide me.

“I can’t wait to see where he’s going to guide me next.”


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