In Tom Hanks’ 1989 film Turner and Hooch, Scott Turner, an obsessive compulsive neat freak detective becomes the guardian of Hooch, a dirty, slobbering, furniture chewing, gas passing, house destroying French Mastiff. The first time we see Hooch in the movie, he tackles Turner and takes hold of him in the jugular (pictured above). This dog is a pain in the neck! Bringing Hooch home is a catastrophe. He barks and howls all night. He chews off the headrest in Scott’s car. He breaks through a door, empties the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator, rips apart the couch, destroys the speakers, slobbers all over Scott’s clean clothes, tears down the blinds and leaves a mess all over the house!
A catastrophe is a downturn to destruction. Every day we wrestle in our minds regarding our circumstances and quarrel with the relationships around us. If animals with no sinful nature can drive us nuts, why are we surprised when people do?! Our minds battle with ongoing thoughts of catastrophe. 2 Timothy 2:14 says that “quarreling leads to the ruin (Katastrophe) of those who listen.” So how do we overcome the ongoing catastrophe in our minds?
Romans 5:10 says that “while were enemies to God,” in the midst of our catastrophe, while he had every right to be angry with us, “God reconciled us to Himself.” That is, He ceased being offended with us and received us into favor anew. While I was in my catastrophe of anger towards God, He changed FIRST and called me His favorite?! And when we receive His reconciliation, He gives us the charge to extend reconciliation to others. So how can we stop being angry at someone first, when we feel we have every right to be?
The turning point in Hooch’s story is when Scott tries to give him a bath. Somewhere in the process Scott stops being angry at Hooch and starts treating him with care. At first, Scott winds up in the tub as Hooch fights every step of the way. However, Scott ultimately succeeds in cleaning Hooch in the backyard with a hose and car brush. Scott ends up winning Hooch over with steak, an ear rub, and some playful wrestling.
James 3:13 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life (anastrophe), by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” This anastrophe is the opposite of catastrophe. While catastrophe is the downturn to destruction, anastrophe is the upturn toward life. It’s the change of our thinking and behavior by the upturn of our inner beliefs. It’s feeling hopeful, thankful, and joyful even when Hooch has destroyed our house! In Romans 8 we are reminded that when our minds are led by our flesh we’re focused on catastrophes, but when our minds are led by the anastrophe of the Holy Spirit, we are filled with vigor and vitality.
In a recent “Mingling of Souls” Marriage Conference by Pastor Matt and Lauren Chandler, Matt shared how he and Lauren would have a major fight every couple months before they were married. Matt became concerned and asked a mentor if he should consider breaking off the relationship? This mentor responded, “Matt, you’re going to fight with someone for the rest of your life. The question is, do you want that person to be Lauren?”
By the time he takes a bullet for Detective Turner, Hooch has become Scott’s favorite dog. When Hooch dies Scott cries and mourns the loss of his best friend. What previously had seemed to be a catastrophe had now become a favorite part of his life.
So keep your chin up friends. We will run into a lot of catastrophes in this life. In fact, you may be married to one at times. And don’t forget you are a catastrophe yourself much of the time! But with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can all live with this anastrophe and reconciliation the Bible talks about. We can be the first to change. We can have a continual upswing of hope and thankfulness and joy. And we can stop being frustrated and angry FIRST and receive our catastrophes with favor. So who is your favorite katastrophe?!