For one million shekels*, answer the following question:
What does 'Israel' mean?
A. He who believes in God
B. He who conquers through God
C. He who struggles with God
D. He who is chosen by God
* Not really.
The answer is C - He who struggles with God. Remember Jacob? He meets God in a mysterious encounter, wrestles with him, and ends up limping off. From then, he has this new name. You can read it yourself in Genesis 32.
Anyhoo, I think I limped off from college on Thursday. I don't quite know what happened, but I felt suddenly overwhelmed by questions. Big questions. I'm not sure the answers I come too will be quite the ones I expect, or of I'm honest, hope for. I got antsy, frustrated at hearing things I didn't want to agree with, but mainly at feeling completely unable to articulate any alternative.
Now, I'm not into wrestling as a sport. But even I know, if you're wrestling with God, you will be overcome and have to surrender at some point. And during those exhausting moments of wrestling, resisting, depleting energy, it also means we are in God's intimate embrace, his arms around us.
So I guess wrestling, struggling, is OK. Limping off is OK. Because it's good to be changed. It actually feels good to go ten rounds with God and come off worse for wear, but having encountered Him. Does that sound mental?
I actually think that's a better option than not wrestling, not struggling, never being challenged and knocked out of joint and changed. It helps to know that it's all part of Being Israel.
So. Back to Dublin later today for another round. I thought a couple of years ago that I'd done my struggling and changing, emerging as some kind of post-evangelical. Oh man ... it's starting to look like that was just a warm-up.