“The Lady or the Tiger?” by Melissa Mitchell

“The Lady or the Tiger?” by Melissa Mitchell

Even though it was over 30 years ago, I still remember bits and pieces of a short story that I read in Junior High.  The story was entitled The Lady or The Tiger.  I believe it was set in ancient Rome and a man was imprisoned, awaiting his punishment in some sort of coliseum.  He had two doors to choose from.  Behind one door was a woman (maybe she was to become his wife??), and behind the other door, a tiger.  He didn’t know which one was behind each door, but he had to make a choice and open one of them.  What I remember most about this story is the abrupt ending.  The story ended with the question:  “What did he choose- the Lady or the Tiger?”   The author doesn’t tell you which door he opens, it leaves the reader to decide the ending.


Sometimes it can feel like discerning God’s will can be like that.  When faced with decisions, it can seem like one choice is the right answer – leading to happiness and prosperity, and the other one is wrong, leading to despair and ruin.

How can we know what God’s will is?  How do we make good, godly decisions?  When I worked with students in a college ministry, this was a topic that was discussed often.  I remember that we used the “sound mind” principle a great deal.

2 Timothy 1:7  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  (The King James Version uses sound mind instead of self-discipline)

When we are growing in our relationship with God, it can make it easier to know His will for our lives.  He wants us to make wise choices and to do so in the love and power that He provides.  Ways to do this:

  • By reading the Bible, any decision we make shouldn’t contradict His word.
  • Influence of other godly people.  What does the counsel of other mature believers have to say about your impending choice?
  • Prayer – seeking God through prayer and listening to Him.

Most times, there is not one terrific choice and one terrible choice that we are confronted with (though sometimes that can be the case).  Life is usually made up of more ambiguous decisions – which job to take, what house to buy, whether or not to change your major, etc.  It can be tough to know which way to go.

I recall years ago, I was in Pastor Jim’s Care Group.  I was having some health problems and was lamenting that I had taken a job out of college that didn’t offer health insurance.  I felt I had made a mistake.  Pastor Jim reassured me saying that I had made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time, and that God would honor that (I hope I’m remembering that correctly, Jim!).  This was a huge relief to me.  It helped me to realize that life didn’t need to be a series of regrets, “if only’s”, and “what if’s”.  I needed to move ahead, seeking God and trusting that He would work out the unknowns.

As we seek to know God’s will and to make wise, God honoring choices, it’s important to seek Him through His word, prayer, and godly counsel.  It’s also important to remember that He will continue to guide and love us no matter what.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8