Yes, I know. Some of you are wagging your heads. Not my dog! Oh, I have heard it before. 10 years ago, I was running with my young sons riding bikes next to me through a quiet, polite sort of neighborhood. Suddenly, the largest dog I have ever seen came running out of the house like a missile toward me, knocking me over and biting me on the arse. As I sternly backed the monster down, I saw the backs of my boys already a quarter mile down the road pedaling like mad.
After getting up and chasing after my sons, I marched over to the house with a very large stick. I told them what happened and how I would call the cops if I ever see that dog again. The old man stared at me like I was crazy. “Oh, c’mon our dog doesn’t bite.” I turned around and showed him otherwise.
I love dogs. Although, when I am on a run, I do not trust any of them. I am not scared of them, but also not foolish enough to believe they would never bite. Fast forward to a couple of days ago when a little, seemingly well-trained ankle biter bit my ankle. This is in Chicago where I have never seen better behaved dogs. But… all dogs bite. They are dogs. They are animals. This world is broken.
Now, I am not writing this as a cautionary tale to dog owners. God bless you. I get it. You think you have controlled an animal. It is an admirable and God-given task even. But this side of the fall, nature does not work like we want it to. Nature bites.
In Wes Anderson’s wonderful film based on Roald Dahl’s book, “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” all the animals appear unusually civilized and human, like a lot of children’s books. But when they eat, they ravage their food like wild animals. Then there is this little scene between Mr. Fox and his wife:
Felicity: Twelve fox years ago, you made a promise to me, while we we’re caged inside that fox trap. That if we survived, you would never steal another chicken, turkey, goose, duck, or a squab, whatever they are, [voice breaking] and I believed you. Why? Why Did You LIE to Me???
Mr. Fox: Because I’m a wild animal.
In Genesis, we are given the task to have dominion over God’s creation. Tame animals, organize nature, mow the lawn, plant trees, pickle asparagus, etc. We are not the owners, but the managers.
Right or wrong, today we have taken the task to the ‘nth degree. We move and change everything. And for good purposes, often, like training dogs.
We should do this for the betterment of everyone. But do not be surprised when a dog bites, a tornado lands, a man steals, a disease is not cured. Do not give up taming the world, but do not put your hope in it either.
One thing has been tamed. Satan has been cast down. Shame and guilt have been removed. Death has been killed. God’s Kingdom and taming have begun in His Son and is moving throughout. We believe it because we have seen it in Jesus. And one day we will see it face to face. We will go running and not get bitten.