The Value of Help
By Anthony Casperson

“Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east.”

These are words from Gandalf to Aragorn in The Two Towers from The Lord of the Rings series. The Battle for Helm’s Deep was soon approaching. Most of the trained warriors of Rohan—called the Rohirrim—had been sent away under the dastardly command of an agent of the enemy. And the walls would only hold for so long.

Thus, Gandalf sets off to find the warriors who had been shooed away, planning to bring reinforcements in time for the defense of the city. And lets Aragorn know that help is coming.

Despite the differences between the book and the movie (specifically the arrival of the contingent of elven archers that appear only in the film), the battle doesn’t go the way of the defenders for very long. The orcs vastly outnumber the city’s defense force. They have ladders and battering rams to invade the city. And eventually, the defending wall is breached.

The king orders the retreat to the inner walls. The humans are on the back foot. And their strength begins to fade. The battle has gone on too long and they can’t keep fighting for much longer. They need help. But none has yet arrived.

Planning on one last push to surge through the ranks of orcs, what’s left of those capable of fighting man up and plan to give their lives to protect those unable to fight. Hopefully, giving those individuals a chance to escape while the fighters buy them time.

As dawn nears, the defenders charge out into the sea of orcs. And when the sun peeks over the horizon, a rider on a white horse leads an army of reinforcements to support the haggard defenders.

Help has arrived.

With fighters flanking the orcish army, the enemy falls quickly. The strengthening of arms came just when the defenders’ strength was ready to give out.

This image of reinforcements when strength fails is perfect for the help that comes from God. The word family usually translated as “help” is often used in the sense of military aid arriving to support. And it quite often is used in the help that God gives when our strength fails us.

Psalm 121:1-2 reminds us that our helper is the Lord. The support of strength we receive from him will never fail. It will always be there to be a helper to us as we go about our lives. Like the supporting structure of a building, we need this support to stand. Without it, we will fall.

And the psalmist repeats the same form of the word for “helper” in Psalm 54:4 as he says that God is his helper. The support that can be leaned upon when weariness overtakes us in the battle of life.

But there’s one more place in the bible that this particular form of the word for “helper” appears. And this one isn’t about military support, or attributed directly to God. But it is the main reason why I wanted to write about this particular word for “helper.”

In Genesis 2:18, 20, God realizes that the man Adam needs a helper like him. Equal to him, but created for this role of supportive strength. And so God builds a woman (yes, the Hebrew says that God “built” the woman) as this perfect helper for man. Someone to perfectly reflect this aspect of God in a way that nothing and no one else could.

When women are shown to be “helpers” according to the plan of God, this isn’t some lesser, keep-in-the-background type of B-team. They’re not benchwarmers meant to be there just in case. No, our sisters in Christ, who reflect the strength of God in our weakness, stand as equals who come alongside to strengthen tired hands. To remind us of the power of God that lifts the feeble hands of every human being to accomplish the plan of God.

My sisters who read these words, don’t buy into the lie that you have to look outside of the people of God to find your strength. Don’t think that you have to seek some twisted version of the gospel to identify with the God who made you for a purpose. You are the purposeful reflection of the God who is our helper.

Whether it is as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, or any other interpersonal relationship, you were designed to be strength for the weary. You get to reveal God in a way that nothing else in all of creation was found to be able. Even the help and support that a man can give another pales in comparison to this purpose given to women.

So, don’t let anyone downplay or degrade your strength or your reflection of God. Live it out. And arrive at just the perfect time for those who need to have their feeble hands lifted.

You were built for this.