The Roar of a Tiger

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 4
Christy read the sign out loud. It was written in big letters in the window of the pet store, "LIVE BENGAL TIGER HERE. SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. COME AND SEE."
"Dad," Christy asked as her father backed their green van into a parking place outside the store, "why do they have a tiger at a pet store? Nobody is going to buy it."
"They have it here for advertisement. It's to get people to come into the store. While the people are in the store looking at the tiger, they'll also look at the puppies, kittens, birds and fish and maybe decide to buy something. This is one way to get new customers," Mr. Whittier explained.
They got out of the van and walked into the pet store. A man at the counter asked, "May I help you?"
"Yes," Mr. Whittier answered, "we would like to see the tiger."
"Of course," the man said, pointing down a long aisle. "He's back there."
Christy stuck her hand in her father's and together they walked down the aisle. On the right side were shelves full of fish tanks. In them were brightly colored fish. On the left side were dog leashes, collars, feeding bowls and pet shampoos, all neatly arranged.
Near the back of the store was a room where puppies were sometimes allowed to run loose. Christy and her dad walked up to the counter which separated this room from the rest of the store. Looking into this room, they could see the tiger chained to a post.
Even lying down he looked huge! He was dark orange with black stripes. His tail was long and switched back and forth.
Mr. Whittier gave a low whistle as he admired the huge beast.
The tiger drew back his whiskers, opened his mouth and lazily yawned.
"Look at those teeth, Dad! They're huge! Some of them are bigger than my finger. Wow, with a throat that size I think he could swallow me without chewing!"
"And I think he could get me down in only two bites," her dad added.
The tiger's trainer heard the two talking and came out to greet them. It was a young lady. She surprised them because she was a small person.
"That is some kitty you have there," Mr. Whittier remarked to her.
"He sure is. His name is Bernard."
"How big is Bernard?" Christy asked.
"He's about 10 feet long and weighs 425 pounds."
"I sure wouldn't want to tangle with him," Mr. Whittier admitted.
The tiger paced back and forth, as far as his chain would let him. Then all at once he lifted one of his giant front paws and stepped into his water bucket. Water spilled out onto the floor.
"Bad!" shouted the trainer at the giant creature from India.
Christy and her dad jumped a little at the trainer's loud shout.
A funny look crossed the tiger's face as he took his foot out of the bucket.
"Sorry to startle you." The trainer explained, "I have to let Bernard know he is doing wrong right away or pretty soon he thinks he can do anything."
"Aren't you afraid of him?" Christy asked in amazement.
"No, he is big, but he is afraid of me. I have trained him since he was a cub, and he knows I am the boss. I don't ever let him forget that either."
"Look! He's doing it again!" Christy told the trainer as the tiger put his foot back into his water bucket.
This time the trainer grabbed a nearby buggy whip and lashed him several times. "Stop it!" she commanded as the whip cracked!
Both Christy and her dad fearfully stepped back from the counter. They expected at any second that the tiger would lash out with his powerful legs and sharp claws and shred the trainer to ribbons! Instead, the tiger obediently lifted his foot out of the bucket again.
"I don't know what has gotten into him today," the trainer stated. "He usually behaves better than this."
"Aren't you afraid he might make a meal out of you?" Mr. Whittier asked the trainer.
"No, we feed him every day, so he is never hungry."
"What do you feed him?" asked Christy.
"Oh, about fifteen pounds of raw meat a day," the trainer replied. "He would eat more if he got more exercise, but he doesn't always get the exercise he needs."
Before she finished the sentence, the tiger slapped the water bucket with his foot and sent water flying all over the room.
Now his trainer was furious! She ran into the room, up to the tiger and gave him one hard kick. The tiger let out an explosive roar! At this point, Christy and her dad had the same idea at the same time-they ran out of the store as fast as they could. They waited outside a few minutes until trainer and tiger settled down before they went back in.
The trainer was sitting at the back of the store in a chair looking comfortable and relaxed. "He won't do that again," she informed them.
Together Christy and her dad took one last look at the tiger and left for home.
Tigers are magnificent animals! They are stronger and have quicker reflexes than men. Yet, like all animals, they are not able to understand about God. This is why men, women and children mean so much to God. God could say only about man "that he [understands] and [knows] Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth" (Jeremiah 9:2424But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:24)). That is not true of any other creature.
Bernard the tiger was yelled at and punished by his trainer in order for him to obey. He was afraid of his trainer. God wants us to obey Him too, but He doesn't want us to be afraid of Him. He wants us to obey Him because He loves us. He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, into this world so we might know how much He loves us. For three and a half years the Lord Jesus did wonderful miracles which no other man could do. He gave sight to the blind, healed people of all kinds of diseases, fed thousands of hungry people at one time, and even raised people from the dead.
Everything He did was done in perfect love and holiness. Yet it isn't only by these great works which the Lord Jesus did when He was alive that we learn how much God loves us. It was the death of His perfect, beloved Son that helps us begin to understand how much He loves us.
God allowed His Son to be crucified so that we might have a way of escaping the punishment for our sins. The Lord Jesus died and shed His blood so that all who believe on Him would never have to be punished. "I, if I be lifted up from the earth [on the cross], will draw all men unto Me," the Lord Jesus said in John 12:3232And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32).
Isn't God's love in sending His Son to die for your sins enough reason for you to accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life?
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:1313Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)).