Many women—whether married or unmarried—read Genesis 2:18 with a shudder, finding it difficult with the word helper. Did God really mean helper the way most people think of the word, that women are somehow subservient and not quite up to par with men?
The Hebrew word here, exerl, is used twenty-two times in the Bible. It is usually translated as help or helper. However, it is used to speak of Gods power in Psalm 89:9, and three times the word is used to refer to God as a helper [Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:29; Hosea 13:9], all of which provide a clue to the fact that God does not intend a woman’s position to be degrading or weak.
The woman who is a helper to her husband is not just at his side, she is on his side. She has her own distinct personality and gifts, her own abilities, her own interests.But above all, in the servant role so beautifully modeled by Christ, she is her husband’s greatest advocate. Being his helper doesn’t mean she follows behind him, picking up his dirty clothes and serving his every whim. It means she stands next to him as his equal, and they lovingly serve each other, with the full knowledge that at times serving might take the form of picking up those dirty clothes.
Reread Genesis 2:21-24, then take a little time to honestly access yourself as a woman and, if married, as a wife. Are there aspects about being a woman that you find difficult? You can talk to God about it. He’ll help you in those areas where you need to grow and change. If you’re married, ask God to help you know what it means to be your husband’s helper: his advocate, his lover, his friend, his servant, his most intimate companion. Whether you’re married or unmarried, God can lvovingly guide you in those areas where you relate to the men in your life—to your husband, to family members, to friends, to coworkers. Ask Him to help you to become the best you can be, a beautiful model of God’s handiwork in a woman’s life.