Hanna, my four-year-old, attempts to turn any creature into a pet. Today, stooping down protectively over a glass jar containing a ladybug, Hanna taught her two-year-old sister, Mercy, how to take good care of her very own insect: "It needs to sleep now," she explained knowingly, covering the jar with a dish towel and cooing Brahms' lullaby.
The world abounds with pets in the eyes of my kids. Last Sunday my children decided that crawfish make perfect pets. Scooping them skillfully out of a local creek they gathered 23 of those wet, creeping, nipping crustaceans. Kate, our favorite neighbor girl, felt so lucky to get to take them all home. Unlike me, her amazing mom allows a multitude of pets.
Another fine pet is the cockroach, at least according to Hanna who cried bitterly when I squished her potential pet during our last summer vacation. "I just wanted to love it and take care of it," she mourned.
What is it that gives kids such a strong desire to have animals of their own? Genesis 1:26 clues us in to Hanna's desires and feelings: "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion... over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'"
Looking at Hanna helps me understand more of what God is like, because God created her in His image, after His likeness. One major way she reflects His image is by having dominion over every creeping thing. While I always associated dominion with domination, ruling over someone to the advantage of the ruler, Hanna's desire to make a cockroach feel loved and secure makes the true meaning of dominion come to life. This, in turn, reveals God's heart towards us.
In our sin we are as unappealing to God as a cockroach, yet he chooses to stoop down to provide for and protect us. Unlike Hanna and her ladybug He knows exactly what we need, namely to know Him, to walk with Him and to trust Him for our every need. This has only been made possible through His forgiveness of our sins by sacrificing His only son. His level of provision goes beyond my ability to comprehend.
This fresh understanding of dominion through the eyes of a little girl gives me such comfort as it shows that His rule is to our benefit and that His love is completely unconditional. Therefore we can rejoice that "his dominion is an everlasting dominion." (Dan. 4:34)