In A Pit With A Lion on A Snowy Day, I read the curious title of the book. Only a few pages in, I know exactly why this book landed in my hands. It was put there to remind me of what God wants to do through me. It’s a theme He’s been working into my life constantly the last two years.
Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 2 Samuel 23:20 (NIV)
Mark Batterson is the author, and basically, it’s about recognizing the hard, scary, impossible parts of our lives as the greatest opportunities for God to get glory through us. In other words, the things you and I want to run away from (a.k.a. lions) are the very things we should run toward—fearlessly. It’s a refresher course for me on the notion that, if I’m out doing things I can do by myself, what kind of glory does God get from that?
If Moses could get the Israelites across the Red Sea without God’s help, then why would anyone say, “Wow, what an amazing thing just happened. There’s no way Moses could have done that without divine intervention! He must have a big God. Now that’s the kind of God I can believe in!”
I have met many “lion chasers” in my lifetime. These are people that God uses to show me what’s possible if I too will chase lions instead of running from them, as I am prone to do. From watching these amazing people of courage and faith, I have learned a few characteristics of lion chasers that I want to emulate.
Lion chasers are FEARLESS for God. One of the most fearless lion-chasers I’ve met on this side of the world is Clayton King. Clayton once told me that the reason he has such a successful ministry is because, when God puts ideas in his mind—and these are often big, crazy ideas—he doesn’t flinch. He doesn’t sit at home and think, “Can I do this? Will I fail? Is this foolish to try?” Instead he just goes for them, and then he sees God do the miracles.
Lion chasers expect a fight. When God gave American missionary Ralph Cox the vision to start 100 churches in Japan in 1970, Ralph was met with intense resistance from other pastors who did not share his vision. At times he felt like he was in a pit with a lion, being battered, worn down, and sometimes, torn to shreds. But since Ralph knew this vision came from God, he did not give up the fight. Instead he told the other pastors, “You do what God has called you to do, I will do what God has called me to do.” Ralph died after 60 years on the mission field, and he leaves behind a legacy of almost 100 churches in Japan. In one of the most Gospel-resistant countries, Ralph has been one of Japan’s most successful church planters.
Lion chasers experience God-success. When Benaiah chased the lion into the pit, he came out victorious over the lion. But even more so, he was then promoted to the captain of the king’s bodyguard (David). Through his reputation of God-courage, he succeeded in ways he never dreamed possible. He had to act in faith first, and then he was given more important assignments, which is exactly what God does for us.
Lion chasers are remembered. Benaiah is still remembered to this day. Ralph will forever be remembered for changing many thousands of lives in Japan through planting 100 churches. Clayton will always be remembered for the hundreds of thousands of lives—especially youth—he has touched internationally through Crossroads Worldwide. Says Clayton, “The worst thing we can do is play it safe. People who play it safe never make history. Revolutionaries—guys that risk it all—make history. They’re the ones who change the course of humanity. People who just sit around doing nothing, playing it safe—they die and nobody remembers what they did for God.”
What will you and I be remembered for?
Lion chasers have no regrets. When you get to the end of your life, what legacy will you leave behind? What will you wish you’d done differently? I know that neither of these men would change a thing, because they’ve lived their lives well.
What about you? Are you ready to join me in the pit? I want to stand with those who change history. I’m ready to face my fears and become a courageous chaser of lions. We need not wait for a snowy day to get started…