The other day I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across my dad's status.
I brought a pet. Monkey
Now ignoring the fact that the sentence was constructed quite strangely due to the fact that Dad is still learning to type on his smart phone, this was a strange status even if it didn't have a period in the middle of the sentence.
So, I was intrigued. At first I thought Dad's Facebook had been hacked by a prankster. Then I found out it was him and that it was some autism awareness thing. But bottom line is that many people were perplexed and interested in his status.
Dad's status got attention partially because everybody would like a monkey. I mean who doesn't want a monkey? The Barenaked Ladies sang "Haven't you always wanted a monkey?" in their song "If I Had a Million Dollars." Seriously, if it was doable how many of you would like a pet monkey? I know that monkeys are wild animals and some have hurt people badly, but if the monkey was safe and could be a good pet I would like a monkey.
When I was a kid I thought Siberian Tigers were the coolest animals on earth. They are huge, majestic creatures. I could never have a Siberian Tiger as a pet, but they do wow me. Every once in a while you'll hear a story about a guy that lives with tigers or lions and like walks up and pets them. Every time I see that I think that a story about a guy getting mauled will be in the news soon because wild animals are wild.
My wife and I now have cats. Charlie and Waldo are our cats. We spend time watching them play and sleep, we talk to them, we feed them and care for them. They are decently nice companions.
But why do we, why does anybody, have pets? Think about. What is the purpose of having animals live in your house? I mean, it's rather strange when you think about it. Why do we love animals? Why do we long for their companionship? Why do we think it would be cool to have a pet monkey?
I think the daydreaming about how cool it would be to have a pet hyena or kangaroo or actually having a domesticated animal as a pet shows a longing for Eden. Inside all of us is a longing for an edenic paradise. Whether we're pet lovers or not we were created with an intrinsic longing for the peaceful paradise that only God can bring.
Look at what the prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 11 when writing about our future paradise:
"The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child will put his hand into the viper's nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:6-9
Isaiah said that one day we will have paradise and it will include our peaceful cohabitation with all animals. As you read that "the infant will play near the hole of the cobra" did your heart tense up? I know mine did. Well, one day in Heaven that won't be the case. I'll hug a Siberian Tiger. You'll play with a monkey; the lion and the wildebeest will sleep beside one another.
We are built with a longing for Eden in us. We are built wanting the perfect world that only God can give us. When we see and feel the tension between our edenic longings and our current circumstances we must use that as fuel for desiring the Kingdom of God.
Long for the reign of King Jesus to come to earth today.