Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day - ch 1

A week or so ago, I started reading Mark Batterson's new book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

Before I dive into the book, let me start off by saying that I've had my fill of happy-go-lucky theology. I'm tired of the TV preachers that act as if the normal Christian life has no hardship whatsoever and that the presence of discomfort or hardship indicates a lack of faith. I'm also tired of some whining, complaining Christians who are convinced that God must not love them; otherwise they would not have the problems they have.

That said, I am looking forward to Batterson's book. It appears that Batterson is leaning opposite of popular teaching by pointing out that hardship or discomfort is sometimes inherent to a God-ordained opportunity. In fact, he states that "the right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time."

Batterson goes on to say that God's calling for us is "much higher than simply running away from what's wrong" that we are to "look for opportunities in our problems and obstacles". Batterson further states, "When we don't have the guts to step out in faith and chase lions, then God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him."

It occurs to me that our scriptures may have more to say about slaying lions than it does slaying giants. David and Samson join Benaiah in the ranks of lion-killers. Daniel survived a den of lions. Satan is compared to a roaring lion. Yet, I think many Christians identify with the man in Proverbs who refused to leave the house because "there is a lion in the streets."

Has God indeed called us to a life of comfort and ease? Does God intend for Christians to be modern-day Noah's -- completely sheltered from the world's storms?

Or, has God called us to draw our weapons, confront the enemy, seize opportunities, and, as Paul told Timothy, "endure hardship as a good soldier."

Lyrics from an old Kirk Tally tune, Step Into the Water, come to mind:

It is time we the people
stand up for what is right.
It is time we squared our shoulders back,
raised our swords to fight.

In the chapters ahead, Mark Batterson promises to highlight seven skills that will assist in chasing lions:
  • Defying odds
  • Facing fears
  • Reframing problems
  • Embracing uncertainty
  • Taking risks
  • Seizing opportunities
  • Looking foolish
I plan to post more thoughts from the book as I read through it. Until then, God Speed!

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