Review: In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day

 “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day” – Mark Batterson

How to Survive and Thrive when Opportunity Roars

Mark Batterson recalls and revives the oftentimes buried little story of Benaiah, risk taker and lion slayer. The canvas with which Batterson paints this rousing and edifying wake-up call for dreamers, entrepreneurs and opportunists is both original and essential for the Church in light of the fears and challenges that look to block her destiny.

Nestled in 2nd Samuel 23 is the very short story of Benaiah, a decorated warrior from David’s camp. But a few lines tell of his exploits: Destroyer of Moab’s two finest soldiers. Outmatched and out-manned yet victorious over a “huge” Egyptian. And then there is the lion, in a pit, on a snowy day. Batterson leverages this epic line in guiding readers to trounce their fears, embrace risk, reevaluate their faith and “lock eyes with their lion.”

Grade – A+

This book has been a prized possession to many on our team and its review, or praise, is long overdue. ‘In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day’ is especially profitable for entrepreneurs and business owners/leaders and was cited in Joe Sharp’s book, Running Down Your Dreams.


Benaiah had every reason and excuse to avoid the lion, besides, the conditions were unfavorable. It was snowing and probably slippery as a result, and the pit gave the lion the advantage of lying in covert and striking Benaiah when he was most vulnerable. The odds weren’t good but the scripture says that Benaiah went down into this pit and killed the lion. Poor odds pale in comparison to an omnipotent God, and Benaiah operated in this truth. This biblical template for a determined disregard for fear and a total dependence on God should serve as a good example as we navigate the risks, obstacles and uncertainties in our own lives.

“…lion chasers don’t look for excuses. They don’t focus on disadvantages. They find a way of making circumstances work in their favor. If need be, they put the Egyptian into a half nelson and wrench the spear out of his hand.”

Running away from security and chasing uncertainty

As Batterson puts it, the above line is counterintuitive, aloof and unintelligible to the world, but it requires faith, and “embracing uncertainty is one dimension of faith.” The fact is, the giants of our faith, like Paul or John Wesley, didn’t really have a plan or itinerary for their ministry. Their will wasn’t a primary concern for them because they were too busy chasing God’s will. I’d bet they had no clue what they were doing when they woke up in the morning: this requires faith, like I mentioned, but it also requires dependence (on His Holy Spirit), a scarce concept in a culture that embraces independence. One of Batterson’s keys to achieving this uncertainty-friendly mindset is forfeiting the need to control, a characteristic that boosts faith and aligns you with God’s will.

It begins and ends with your prayer life

“And this [that] sense of destiny, rooted in the sovereignty of God, helps you pray the unthinkable and attempt the impossible.”

Batterson’s charge to the reader to conquer fear and befriend uncertainty and risk is rooted in an expectant prayer routine that calls on mountains to move. “Managing” your expectations has never been so faith-filled, but then again we aren’t the managers since our eyes are on heaven and not buried in our circumstances. Batterson points readers to ‘bind and loose’ obstacles, dilemmas and opportunities through unceasing prayer and constant connection with the Father. Assuming this connectivity, Batterson argues, we begin to realize the brand of authority we actually have as sons and daughters of the king: all authority under the heavens.

“Don’t just settle for prudence. Strive for valiance. Make the call. Apply for the program. Send the e-mail. Hand in your resignation. Set up the meeting.”


Joe D’Orsie – Communications & Spiritual Life Counsel