“a helper suitable for him”: are wives really just “the help?”

***originally written for Something Beautiful Ministries, published on April 30, 2014***

Girls, I wanna talk about something a little scandalous today, something that I am learning a lot about STILL, as a wife and a woman made in the image or God.  

I want to talk about gender roles.

This is hotly debated, in and out of the church, and it’s quite the touchy subject. It’s also a MASSIVE subject, and itself has a hundred different facets or more that we could discus but today, there’s one particular purpose for the woman in the Bible that I’d like to put the spotlight on: THE HELPER.

As I’m sure most of you have heard in some context or another, God created the woman as a helper to the man. In the beginning, after God created Adam, Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” He subsequently created Eve.

  Eve was created to be Adams helper, to complete him. God didn’t want Adam to be alone. Eve had a really wonderful and divine purpose, and Adam loved his wife and Eve loved her husband and they were one flesh in marriage. Beautiful. He led, she helped… Until sin came in to the picture and the Bible says in Genesis 3:16 that Eve’s “desire will be for her husband.” That doesn’t mean that she would desire Adam – it means she would desire his position. She, and every daughter of her, each and every one of us, has since been cursed with this desire because of sin.

Now, many, many generations of women later, after a feminist movement or two, the term “helper” is such a demeaning thing to most people. Who wants to be a helper, right? 

I’m reminded of a friend I had in college who worked for his uncle’s company installing fences. There were teams of two who would go out and put up these fences, one an Installer and the other, the Helper. No one wanted to be a helper long. Everyone wanted to be an installer. You got to make decisions and lead the team. You handled the business with the customers and you were in charge. It added to it, too, that the installer made more money. Sound familiar?

While the feminist movements may have been rooted in righting an injustice against women from husbands who treated them as somehow less worthy (which is not Biblical, mind you – Paul does call women the “lesser” or “weaker vessel” in 1 Peter 3:7 but states that they are to be treated with consideration by their husbands, with “respect as heirs of the gracious gift of life” and implies that a husbands prayers will be hindered if he does not). However, they fought for much more – they wanted to be the installers in the home and out. Women charged for equality in positions in the home, the work place, and the government, not in order to help, but to lead. 

Somehow, helping wasn’t satisfying enough (her desire will be for her husband… for the man’s position…) and it is my personal opinion that is was the consequence Eve received to covet that position, combined with the energy and momentum of the feminist movements around the world that finally gave women the courage to just reach out and take the positions of man, stepping out of the helper role, and into that of the ruler (which was given to Adam in Genesis 3:16). Now again, that’s broad and highly political so I’ll hault myself there and step off that soap box and get back to my point.

Our understanding of the term “helper” has been highly distorted by a worldly understanding which makes the Bible, and therefore God seem highly chauvinistic. However, if someone were really to take a look at the Bible and who ELSE God refers to as a helper, I think it would change our hearts toward our divinely assigned role.

Psalm 54:4: “Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.”

John 14:26: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” 

Hebrews 13:6: “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

Psalm 118:6: “Jehovah is my helper.”

Psalm 28:7: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me.”

Does it change your mind, sister, to know that GOD HIMSELF is also the help? Ladies there is nothing demeaning or lessening at all about being your husband’s (or future husband’s) helper.

Being created to be the helper is just further proof and evidence of Genesis 1:27: “So God created mankind is His own image, In the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.” 

Honey, you were created in the IMAGE OF GOD to be a helper. It is a divine honor that we were chosen to emulate and reflect who the Lord God is to His people in that way. In my own heart, it is only further proof that we – women – are so wonderfully made and that there was an intent and purpose in all that God chose for us, not just our physical bodies, but in everything. We were chosen purposely to be the helpers, not because of some sort of lacking, but He wanted to show the world that side of Him, because Adam needed a helper.

Over and over again, married couples are reminded that they are  on a journey, committing themselves to living out a relationship that mirrors Christ and the Church. Over and over again, we have studied that both MEN AND WOMEN were created in the image of God, and I believe they both were in order to complete that image. Man couldn’t do it alone, and neither could woman. Together they complete that image, and sister, only you carry the title of helper. It, with the understanding that it is a trait of the Almighty God who created you, the Holy Spirit who guides you, and the Christ who died to save you, is a title that should be carried with dignity and honor.

Does knowing that women were created as the helper to a man offend you? Why or why not?

And does knowing what you know now about how the Lord is our help change how you feel at all?

Please share in the comments below!

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