I recently read a book called, “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson. In the book, he encourages Christians to trust God and realize that the future God wants for them is hiding in their biggest problem, worst failures and greatest fears! He emphasizes, as does the Bible, that God is glorified as His people step into the seemingly impossible opportunities that stand between them and their dreams because these are the places where God’s involvement can be the only explanation for success. Even if the outcome is not that which was hoped for according to our definition of success, we are still ahead because we will have the opportunity to grow in our relationship with God, thus, find ourselves changed. Besides, we can trust that God doesn’t waste anything. The efforts made will certainly be used for God’s purposes to bring forth the planned outcome of God.
For instance, a number of years ago, Jon (my husband) and I answered the call to plant a church in Lumberton, NC. With little financial support and little previous experience; with statistics saying small towns that are no longer growing are not the place to plant a new church especially by an outsider, we left our jobs and we moved to Lumberton. Although there were many struggles, there were many great things that happened through the plant to include salvations, water baptisms, new commitments to the Lord, divine relationships established through the fellowship including two marriages, and our experience of God in at a whole new level that resulted from this walk of faith. All of this was God’s plan and what came out of our obedience to “go” even in the midst of defying odds.
As for the church plant, it fell apart in its sixth year and we have moved on. But you see, nothing was wasted! God was glorified in our obedience in many ways as He worked out His plan for so many people through our obedience; and Jon and I are that much closer to our own destiny of becoming like Christ. Our relationship grew with Christ through the experience of obedience and in the experience of letting go of God’s people for Him to do as He pleased. We are not even close to being the same today as we were when we set out on that journey. You can only WIN in being obedient to God! As Batterson says, “I wish I could tell you that every lion chase ends with a lion skin hanging on the wall, but it doesn’t…the dot.com dreamer may become successful beyond his wildest dreams, but the guy with political aspirations loses the election he dreamed of winning. However, both of them are LION CHASERS. What sets lion chasers apart ISN’T THE OUTCOME. It’s the courage to chase God-sized dreams. Lion chasers don’t let their fears or doubts keep them from doing what God has called them to do.
So, we are called to run after these opportunities as God puts the desire on our hearts. Or, as Batterson puts it, “chase lions” and lay hold of God’s best by not allowing our past experiences, present circumstances, fears, doubts, bad decisions, or habits keep us from stepping into what God has called us to do. Instead, chase these opportunities and with God’s help defy the odds, face our fears and re-frame our problems, embrace uncertainty, take risks, and seize opportunities – all at the risk of looking FOOLISH. As our trust grows in God’s sovereign timing and positioning us for His purpose in our life’s circumstances, and as we learn to recognize and lay hold of our God-ordained opportunities, we are transformed from glory to glory. And, that is God’s best no matter what the exterior circumstances look like. Next time around, the outcome may be just what one expects! So continue on chasing lions knowing God is with you. It’s all good! It’s all in God’s hands to be used for HIS eternal purposes!
What dream are you allowing fear or doubt to hold you back from pursuing? Go on…chase that lion!