A Brief and Urgent Life

Sam Rainer

May 16, 2008

Today I graduated from Southern Seminary. Dr. Al Mohler, the president, gave a wonderful address on staying mighty in the Scriptures like the eloquent Apollos of Acts 18. But it was a prayer during the ceremony that captured my heart. My father had the honor of offering a prayer for the nations to be reached for Christ. Though the words he prayed meant much, it was the sense of urgency behind them that touched me.

I doubt anyone at the graduation would downplay a go-and-tell-life. But no one outside my family truly understood the gravity of his urgent desire.

A few days ago, a traumatic event occurred in my father’s neighborhood that shook our entire family. Dad takes a daily walk through his neighborhood for exercise. During his walk last week he picked up my call on his cell phone. He slowed as he conversed with me.

The phone abruptly cut off. I assumed that he had either dropped the phone or the call had been dropped. In reality, he cancelled the call in order to dial 911.

A car had run a stop sign at over 35 mph, slammed into the fence along the walking trail, and hit a man stretching after his run. My father’s neighbor was tossed in the air and landed hard on the pavement.

The driver of the car was a scared 16 year-old who tried to back up to leave the scene. He had been text-messaging a friend and had not been looking at the road. The witnesses stopped him from leaving while my father ministered to the man and his family.

As of this writing, Dad’s neighbor is still in critical condition. One leg has been amputated. He has a long road of recovery in front of him. Pray for him and his family, as well as the teen who struck him.

Through this situation, my family was reminded of the brevity of life. We praise God that He kept my father from being hit. Dad was only twenty feet from the man when the car slammed into him. Had he not been on the phone with me, my father might have been struck as well. We rest assured that God is sovereign, and His ways will be accomplished.

But God also sent me a reminder through my father that we take much for granted. We are not entitled to the next day or even our next breath.

Most importantly, this unfortunate and tragic incident gives me a greater sense of urgency with the gospel message. Did the man know Christ? Does his family understand the amazing grace of our Lord? My father continues to try to make contact with them – he did not know them before this incident. And he is learning updates through other neighbors.

Life is too brief to worry about ancillary things. We have a great primary mission in our life, no matter how brief or long it may be. We glorify God with everything we have, and we share His message of salvation through Jesus Christ by the light that is within us and the spoken words of our mouths.

Today at graduation, I hung out with my cousin, David Rainer. I had the honor of graduating with him. We went out to eat and shot the breeze. It was a moment that I will cherish because I will not see him and his family for quite some time. He, his wife Melinda, and newborn Luke are headed to Shizuoka, Japan to share God’s message of salvation with an unreached people. As we parted, I couldn’t help but think I was looking at someone who has the passion of Elliot and the heart of Judson.

David, thanks for your sense of urgency in this brief life. It is my prayer today that I will have the same fire as you and my father.

6 comments on “A Brief and Urgent Life”

  1. David R says:

    Sammy – it was a joy to be with you & Erin, Uncle Thom & Aunt Jo, & Brenda & it was an awesome privilege that we got to share the day! It made the day so much more special. I was also touched by your dads prayer & continue to be giddy at how the Lord is growing & using you 3 Rainer boys. Thank you for your over the top kind words in this blog.

    I’m excited at what the Lord continues to do in your heart, ministry, & life & I will be praying that your heart for the nations will intersect with us in Japan at some point in the near future!

    Much love to the Rainers! I hope no infinitives were split in the making of this reply 🙂

  2. Sam Rainer says:

    To boldly go, Cousin…to boldly go.

  3. Thom Rainer says:

    I have to make the first three comments a family affair to share my total and unashamed parental pride in you. You completed a masters degree while serving full-time in ministry. Your Mom and I delight in you and all the ways that God is using you. Next stop for you very soon in academia is the Ph.D., but only God knows the wonderful ways He will use you in the days ahead. From both Mom and me, we love you very much.

    P.S. to David: “To share” is an infinitive which has not been split.

  4. Ed Eubanks says:

    Congratulations on your graduation! That’s a huge accomplishment.

    I’m thankful your father is okay, and that his neighbor sounds like he may pull through as well. What a reminder of how much we all need to be grateful for today.

  5. Congrats on your graduation.

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