Shalom was a 2-year old little girl I met in Uganda. Shalom was the daughter of Justice and David, the sister of Hope. Hope used to sit on my lap during teachings, wrenching my head to the side to run her little fingers over the semi-colon tattoo behind my ear.
I have a video of Shalom singing the next room over.
I woke up last Saturday to find out that Shalom was gone. We were told cancer. We were told of multiple hospitals, and of multiple weeks.
I sat in bed crying, and then called my mom. I wasn’t sure if grief or anger was appropriate. It didn’t feel like I had any right to feel either. I am hungry to see all of this made right again, but some mornings I wake up downright ravenous. I feel it every bone, in every breath, dreaming of a feast when all I see is famine.
The hungry are never alone, are they?
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Daughter of Justice. Isn’t shalom always born out of justice? We learned last week that it all starts with the individual, it all starts with us choosing to do more justice. Shalom is born of everything wrong made right. Shalom is born when we all have eyes to see things like Jesus does. Shalom, the daughter of justice, we will make this broken world whole.
Sister of Hope. Isn’t she always? Hand in hand with the stubborn belief that none of this is how it should be. Isn’t it hope that sees the shalom in everything? It is hope that dares to believe shalom even exists. And hope isn’t gentle? Hope wrenches you to see, hope holds your attention, hope compels you to enter into the emptiness, in the hopes that your presence might lessen the cavern.
I’ve spent the last few months wrestling with God, over justice. And this world, and justice in a world so broken, not even the smallest among us are exempt. At the core of how I defined justice was ultimately vengeance, but what does vengeance ever make right?
What vengeance would ever bring Shalom back? When does vengeance ever bring shalom? I am not angry because she is gone. I am angry because there’s nothing right about the fact that she is.
I haven’t found an answer yet. Because nothing will bring her back, no one else will sing her songs, dance her dance, smile her smile.
In this season, I’m clinging to the promise, that someday this will all be new. God doesn’t need vengeance, to make it all whole again. Our consequences are bad enough most of the time anyway.
On earth, as it is in heaven.
I am white-knuckled onto the thought that restoration is coming, and I am mourning because it is not yet here. And neither is a contradiction. So for now, I’ll write what I know of Her. Of Shalom. Because I refuse to give her over to the god of sad stories and statistics. She’s Jesus’s.
Shalom and Justice will reunite.