“Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds, killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day. He killed an Egyptian, an impressive man. Now the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but he went down to him with a club and snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.” – 2 Samuel 23:20-21
I just finished a great book by Mark Batterson, entitled, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day – How to survive and thrive when opportunity roars. Ever felt like a book was written just for you? Well, this is one such book. I am about to take the biggest leap of faith in my 35 years here on earth. This book revved me up mentality and helped get my attitude in check. When you need some encouragement, hope, and perspective, God’s Word stands alone, but In a Pit gave me another shot of adrenaline.
God places us strategically in the right place at the right time. It is when we face struggles or obstacles that we grow the most. In the book of James, He says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perspective must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.” (James 1:1-4).
Our calling in life is often running toward risk instead of running away from it. Yet, for most, they pray that God would take away the challenges and obstacles. I’m not saying cancer, or losing a job, or divorce, or loss of loved one is easy. However, often when we face our greatest struggles, God uses these times to strengthen our character and prepare us for the next phase of our journey. We should look for opportunities in our problems and take more risks so we can be all God has called us to be.
It’s crazy for someone to chase a lion, but that is exactly what In a Pit talks about- the radical, gut checking, and intentional pursuit of chasing lions (opportunities). Nothing is impossible with God. Yet if you view God as small, your challenges appear bigger than they are. But with a larger view of God and all of His possibilities, your problems and challenges are much smaller.
In The Faith-Based Investor, I talk about how faith and fear are foes – they are opposites of one another. Many let their attitudes get in the way of success.
“I can’t do it.”
“That could never happen to me.”
“It’s too difficult.”
The call of defeat often sets in before we really ever get started. Yet Batterson, who is the Lead Pastor at National Community Church in DC, offers a challenging look at how our strength and endurance during times of fear build character and faith. He says, “The goal of life is not the elimination of fear. The goal is to muster the moral courage to chase lions.” He goes on to say, “Opportunities often look like insurmountable obstacles. Someday we may be grateful for the bad things as the good things, because the bad things helped prepare us for the good things.”
It is when we play it safe that it is the most risky. We risk the opportunities and experiences God had in mind for us. At the end of one’s life more people regret the things they didn’t do than regret the things they did. Will you leave this earth with thousands of “what ifs” or will you chase the lions God brings into your life? It won’t be easy, but the rewards will be well worth the struggle. Can you name one thing worth having that was easy to obtain?
When we are faithful with little things God prepares us for the greater opportunities. When you show courage, character, dedication, and commitment, He is ready to show you where He is leading you. Until you get to this place, you may appear stuck. Stuck waiting for a sign, stuck waiting for an answered prayer, stuck in the status quo. God does not call us to be mediocre. He wants all of His people to be successful, to prosper, and to be blessed. Yet, He cannot bless actions or steps you never take.
In Jeremiah 29:11, the Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” He also says, “”A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) So the big question is what lion is God calling you to chase? If you are stuck and need some direction, I highly suggest you read In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. It may just provide the encouragement you need.