Book Review: In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson

I recently finished the book, In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson.


Man oh man, was this a good book! Mark Batterson addresses the concept of fear when you’re chasing your biggest, God-given dreams, also known as your “lions”. He focuses on the story of Benaiah in the Bible. Benaiah’s story is very very short. It’s literally only 3 verses long. In fact, if you weren’t paying attention, you’d probably miss it. Benaiah was basically just some crazy he-man who, instead of running away from a 500 lb lion, CHASED it into a pit and killed it…. on a snowy day, no less (I’m thinking God just made it snow in this particular situation for dramatic affect). Anyway…. WHO DOES THAT???

Batterson discusses how everyone has a God-given purpose in life, but some let certain things stand in the way of pursuing it. It’s easy to sit in our same pew every Sunday at church, sing the songs, pray the prayers, and just survive. But God isn’t calling us to just ‘survive’, He’s calling us to thrive. He’s calling us to step out in faith and chase our lions. Defeating those lions are literally beyond our capability, without Him by our side. So whenever we DO defeat them, HE gets the glory. Logistically speaking, there is no possible way Benaiah could have killed that lion with his bare hands in a pit on a snowy day. Humans just aren’t that awesome. Batterson addresses 7 “lion chasing skills”:

  1. Defying odds
  2. Facing your fears
  3. Reframing your problems
  4. Embracing Uncertainty
  5. Taking risks
  6. Seizing opportunities
  7. Willingness to look foolish


This book was seriously amazing. I want to share a “few” (I use that term loosely because I have A LOT) of my favorite quotes from the book to give you a taste of the epic truth bombs that Batterson lays out.

“Most of our problems are not circumstantial. Most of our problems are perceptual. Our biggest problems can be traced back to an inadequate understanding of who God is. Our problems seem really big because our God seems really small. In fact, we reduce God to the size of our biggest problem.”

“Don’t let mental lions keep you from experiencing everything God has to offer you. The greatest breakthroughs in your life will happen when you push through the fear. The defining moments will double as the scariest decisions. But you’ve got to face those fears and begin the process of unlearning them.”

“I’m concerned that the church has turned into a bunker where we seek shelter when we’re actually called to storm the gates of hell. Does that sound safe? I can’t imagine a more daring or dangerous mission.”

“Maybe we should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances, and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances.”

“Almost like a broken bone that needs to be reset, God breaks us where we need to be broken. He fractures the pride and lust and anger in our lives, but He does it to remodel us into His image. And once we heal, we end up stronger than we were to begin with.”

“Maybe faith has less to do with gaining knowledge and more to do with causing wonder. Maybe a relationship with God doesn’t simplify our lives. Maybe is complicates our lives in ways that they should be complicated.”

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t make plans. But you might want to use a pencil with an eraser and have a shredder handy.”

“Some of your experiences won’t make sense this side of eternity, but lion chasers know that God is connecting the dots in ways they can’t comprehend. Lion chasers are humble enough to let God call the shots and brave enough to follow where He leads.”

“Generally speaking, you are probably never going to be more than 80 percent certain. Waiting for greater certainty may cause you to miss an opportunity.”

“We need to stop criticizing culture and start creating it.”

“You’ve got to prove yourself when the little opportunities present themselves. And when you do, God will bring bigger and better opportunities your way.”

“Living in prayer mode is the difference between seeing coincidences and providences. Prayer has a way of helping us recognize that what we might dismiss as human accidents are really divine appointments.”

“A dream becomes a reality one opportunity at a time. And if you work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God, there is no telling what God can do in you and through you.”

“If you’re going to defy the odds, face you fears, reframe your problems, take a risk, and seize a God-ordained opportunity, you have to be willing to look foolish in the world’s eyes. Because, no matter how it might look, doing God’s will is never foolish.”

“Too many people in too many churches look too much alike. If anyplace ought to celebrate diversity it ought to be the church. There never has been and never will be anyone like you. And that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to the God who created you. Diversity is a celebration of originality.”

“The Holy Spirit doesn’t want merely to fill you; He wants to stretch you. He wants to create new capacities within you by instilling new dreams, installing new gifts.”

“Big dreams are the by-product of a big God, and they make big people in the process. The goal isn’t accomplishing the dream God has given you. It’s who you become in the process. So God gives us five-hundred-pound dreams to keep us on our knees and form the character of Christ in our hearts.”

Like I said, I LOVED this book! This is only a fraction of the quotes I highlighted throughout the book. Seriously, a must-read!