Breaking Down a 1,000 Doors
“A thousand doors!”
I looked down. A hundred feet of rock and ice covered in a paper-thin layer of loose snow separated us atop Arapahoe Basin’s notorious East Wall. Having popped a kneecap out of joint I clutched my snowboard protectively to my chest while wedged between the mountain slope and a protruding rock, and waited for ski patrol to pick me up. I’d called to my husband to “save himself” as I watched horrified when he unhooked his own board to attempt to scale the icy incline to get to me. Through labored breaths “a thousands doors” was his only response. It was all he had to say. Those words meant more than even, “I love you.” They meant he wasn’t giving up on me, no matter what.
It was a decade earlier that “a thousand doors” became a catch phrase in our relationship. I met my husband not long after he’d gotten out of a two-year relationship. We were friends for almost a year before we became a couple. One evening we were out to dinner with friends when someone asked what went wrong with his previous girlfriend. Having had a crush on him at the time, I naturally eavesdropped on the conversation.
He explained they were at the point in their relationship when he had to make a decision about their future. She wanted to marry him, but he wasn’t so sure. A friend sat him down and asked if he would bust through a thousand doors to get to her. After thinking about it, his conclusion was that maybe he’d make it through a hundred doors, but surely he’d give up before he reached a thousand. And it clicked that if he were to spend the rest of his life with someone, she would mean enough to him that no amount of doors would stop him from reaching her.
Knowing I’d overheard the conversation, when we finally did start dating, those thousand doors became a metaphor. Not that my husband would ever have to literally break down doors - or who knows, maybe someday he will - but that there would never be an obstacle too big, that he would never stop fighting for me, and that his love would never have conditions or an end.
What an impact it made on me to hear him shout his declaration as I watched him toil to save me. But that day my husband not only literally rescued me off the side of that 13,000-foot mountain; he also lived out an example Christ’s love for us, His Bride.
The sentiment behind my husband’s declaration of a thousand doors - of love that is never failing and will always fight for me - mirrors Christ’s feelings for His Church. But where my husband’s love for me has to be fought for on a daily basis, one broken down door as a time, Christ’s love for us was already proved through His sacrifice on the cross. This ultimate act of love is something we commemorate this Easter week in fact. Christ literally faced the forces of hell and overcame death to take away the tarnish of sin from our lives and restore our communion with our loving Father. A sacrifice that is far greater than any of us could achieve, it covers and comforts us for the rest of eternity.
A thousand doors will always be what we strive for in our marriage, but this side of heaven we simply are too steeped in sin to ever show one another a love that never fails. In sharp contrast to our imperfect love for one another is Christ’s perfect love for us.
Despite his declaration, my husband is only human, so there are days that those doors are incredibly daunting for him to smash through. Days he won’t feel like breaking anything down. Especially when I’m on the other side dead bolting them shut. There have been and will be days he simply turns around and leaves those doors standing. But with the Spirit’s help there are days we succeed. But those doors we struggle daily to break down for each other have already been blasted to sawdust by Christ through His sacrifice on the cross.
Christ’s love for us has already been tested, tried, and proved on the cross and through His resurrection. What was accomplished then covers our past, present, and future, and what that means for us as believers is that we can stand firm in knowing His love is eternal. That the love spoke of in His Word can never fail, will never give up, and has already fought for us to completion.