07: A Helper Suitable For Him
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper [ezer] suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
"The noun used here [ezer] throughout the Old Testament does not suggest 'helper' as in 'servant,' but help, savior, rescuer, protector as in 'God is our help.' In no other occurrence in the Old Testament does this refer to an inferior, but always to a superior or an equal...'help' expresses that the woman is a help/strength who rescues or saves man." Philip Payne, Man and Woman: One in Christ
Our anniversary is July 20th, but it’s important for me to think about this now. That is the day that Brenda Sue Johnson left her singleness and aligned her life to mine “til death do us part.” There, before many friends and family, we both professed undying love and faithfulness, as do all married couples. We were in-love, excited, and all we needed for life was dreams and each other! But the tests came soon, proving just how much grit would be needed to keep those vows mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. “Character is what you are in the dark,” D.L. Moody said. Who cares what you profess to believe or value? Only the true test of time will reveal the integrity of one’s soul.
Friday night, my bride had to drive me to the hospital because my PICC line had gotten infected. I was not in danger – yet – but she was worried. Because of the coronavirus protocols, the most she could do was come into the lobby. She would have slept in the parking lot if I had to stay the night. She could not sit with me and journey with me while I waited for answers: why was my skin so inflamed? I was at the low point of my body’s ability to fight infection – how bad was this infection? We’d have to remove the PICC line – what will that mean for further infusions? She, who sprung into action the moment the mention of cancer entered the conversation. She, who organized, tabulated, called, made reservations, made cancelations (did you know she had travel-hacked and saved and scrimped for two years so we could take a dream vacation to England?), moved savings, moved time schedules, turned down clients, set aside her happiness and amusements … just so that I could concentrate on killing Timmy.
This is not a brag. This is the truth.
A few weeks ago, before my PICC line was removed, we sat quietly at our table, clean towel spread out, masks on, hands washed and sanitized. I watched my bride perform a “flush” – pushing sterile saline solution to keep the line from clotting. I thought: “This is one of the most intimate things we do together. Without her help, I could get sick and die. My, God! I hit the jackpot with her! I’ve known other people who would not do a tenth of what she’s done for their spouses. How did I come to deserve her?” And the truth is: I didn’t. I don’t.
If you’re single, and you want to know the measure of mature love. Look upon her, children: this is what a woman of God does. This is the cost of faithfulness. Are you really willing to pay that price, or do you just want to pretend to be a grown-up? Give no time or recognition to the feckless and vain attempts that woo you to believe what love and romance is the latest and hottest on network or web! 2 Timothy 2:22 says “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
You might ponder (and you should): “Will I be blessed to have a spouse like that?”
I would say: build your character so that you are the spouse that would do that, then your heart and eyes will be better informed that “charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Pr. 31:30). It will be easy to see if the same is looking for you. And it goes without say: Gentlemen, the price is higher for us - when you marry, you swear to lay down your life, which includes, pride, affection, goals, dreams, vision … so that she is washed, made holy, and useful to the master. That is how we will be judged by God.
So, the PICC line is gone; I will likely have a mid-line central line put in its place given my sensitivity to prolonged bandage adhesive use. And though it was tedious and foreign … I will miss the times she was there to care for me like that.
So, here’s how the Lord has taught me to value Brenda through cancer: I’ve always loved her and adored her, even though I’ve been careless, unobservant, and thoughtless with her love. What he’s shown me is a picture of Jesus himself: stooping with a different towel, but still demonstrating unconditional and sacrificial love; caring for me, flushing my lines, giving me life.
And if you know Brenda, I know you’ll heartily agree when I say with writer of Proverbs: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all … Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (31:29, 31)
Now, you might be wondering: Isn’t there a kind of misalignment of the theme? Shouldn’t you be writing something for Easter? I would answer: The Lord Jesus didn’t rise because it was a cool party trick. He arose for a purpose – one that we have yet to fully appreciate even now. In his prayer for the Ephesians, Paul prayed that their eyes would be open so that they could see – among other things – his “incomparably great power for us who believe. ” What kind of power? “That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms”. For what purpose? “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The Resurrection and the Bride are intrinsically and eternally linked.
And Christ-honoring examples of love like MY bride, are like twinkles in the night sky, silent, but unmistakable signs of The Creator’s love and purpose.