Saturday, 1 February 2014

Helping out

She had auburn curls and big chocolate brown eyes, and she looked at me with this winsome smile on her face.  "Please, mom, can I help?" she begged me, again.

All I was doing was basic clean up of the kitchen after lunch, and my little 3 yr old daughter desperately wanted to help. She loves helping me do all my chores, even when her small hands aren't quite capable of it nor her still-learning mind to understand what I'm doing. But she wants to help.

As a mother, I let her "help", even if that "help" isn't the most helpful. I know that by "helping" me, she's learning the task, and that by including her, we're developing a stronger relationship. I also know that by having her "help",  I'm training her spirit to be helpful.

I love being helpful. I'm delighted that my daughter also enjoys this, and I want to encourage it.  Helpfulness is a divinely ordained role for every woman -- it's what God pronounced women to be, when He announced He was going to create us. He said, "It is not good for man to be alone; I will create a suitable helper for him."

A suitable helper, a help fit for the task.. the Hebrew is "ezer" and the Greek "beothus". In English, we think of help as "nice to have, but not necessary for the task".  But there are many kinds of help: there's general usefulness, kindness, there's courtesy and respect, there's tutoring and nurturing, there's rescue and support. The Hebrew and Greek words for "helper" in this passage refer to the kind of help that is urgent, strong and absolutely required for the task at hand.

While in our culture self-sufficiency and independence are highly prized, there are some kinds of help that are indispensable. For example, when a person has a heart attack, the help of a doctor is not only nice to have, but an urgent, absolute need, in order for that person to live. A bridge won't stand without a support. A drowning person needs the urgent help of a lifeguard or rescuer. A man trapped in a burning building needs the help of a firefighter.  And it's this kind of help that is described by the original words of Scripture.

Most often, the word translated help or helper here is used to describe the kind of help God is to His people.  "I lift my eyes up to the hills, where does my "ezer" come from? My "ezer" is in the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth."  "Blessed is he who's "ezer" is the God of Jacob, who's hope is in the Lord his God."  God is the divine Helper of His children. And women are given that same kind of title in marriage, to their husband. What an honor!

As I said, I love helping. I love coming alongside someone and filling in the missing information, work, encouragement, listening ear or connection that someone needs. I find myself looking for opportunities to help someone however I can, in every relationship. And yet, I hold back, knowing I can be helpful, but not knowing if that help is welcome.

I want to help. My cry echos my little girl's -- please, let me help. I'm sure God so often also longs to help, but doesn't want to force His help on us. He will hold back His help, until we call on Him. Then, stand back and watch Him work!

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