Chase the lion!
That is the recurring theme that stalks and roars at readers as they consume the meat of Mark Batteron's new book "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day."
Alright, enough with the lion jokes.
Based on an obscure passage in the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel (23:29,30) Mark Batterson challenges his readers to face the lions in their lives head on with courage and faith. He centers his book on the story of an Israelite warrior who encounters a lion in a pit on a snowy day. The twist is that rather than running away from the lion as most people would be prone to do, this courageous solider jumps into the pit and kills it.
It is a bold move, a fearless and counter-intuitive act. And it is an act that perfectly illustrates the kind of life Batterson believes should be the norm for people who follow Jesus Christ. People whom Mark labels: lion chasers.
The majority of the book is built on the seven skills that Batterson believes will help people "climb out of the slipperiest pits and chase the biggest lions." These skills are: overcoming adversity, unlearning fears, embracing uncertainty, calculating risks, seizing opportunities, defying odds, and looking foolish.
Each of the chapters in the book highlights one of the seven skills and describes how it applies to a life of lion chasing. The chapters are easy to read and the main points in each one are clear and well illustrated. Using an effective blend of intellect, humor, candor and Scripture he artfully makes his case for the necessity and development of each skill. Coupled with a writing style that is both easily understandable and doable, Batterson provides his readers with needed insights on how to develop the 7 habits of highly effective lion chasing.
Throughout the book Batterson skillfully blends a mixture of scientific discovery, psychological research, Biblical narrative, and personal experience into a coherent whole. He has also been blessed with the wonderful ability to creativity make the Biblical text come alive. More than once he imaginatively describes the life experiences of Benaiah the lion killer, as well as many other Biblical stories, in such a way that it almost makes the reader feel as though he/she were near the snowy pit when Benaiah jumped in. And in the end, you walk away looking to pick a fight with some invisible feline king of the jungle.
Batterson is right when he points out that we will all face lions in our lives at one time or another. These lions might come in pits on snowy days, but rather, they could be disguised as possible career changes, risky decisions that must be made, difficult conversations that need to be had, big crazy God-sized dreams we'd like to pursue, or longstanding habits that have to be broken. Whatever lions are in your life, Mark Batterson's book will help you develop the skills you need to jump into the snowy pit and face them head on.
This is a very readable book for people everywhere who are looking at their lives and wondering if there might be something more than what they are currently experiencing. Batterson's writing is stirring, challenging, truthful, reverent, informational, and entertaining all at the same time. It will make you laugh, it will amaze you, it will inspire you, and it will bring you closer to God.
Chase the lion.