Summary: This series examines many of the emotional holes that we fall into and how we can crawl out.

February 3, 2002

Numbers 11:14-15

Crawling Out of the Holes of Life Series

“Crawling Out of the Depression Hole”

On November 1, 1993 I traveled to Palm Springs California. As the American Airlines MD-80 banked over a small mountain range just to the east of Palm Springs I was able to catch a panoramic view of this lush oasis in the eastern California high desert. We had flown for nearly two hours over what appeared from 30,000 feet to be some of the most inhospitable country on the continent. I was flying into a two week adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Most of you know already that I really enjoy the game of golf. Palm Springs is known for some of the best golf courses on the planet. In fact the Bob Hope Classic is played at three courses in Palm Springs. I did not fly into Palm Springs that day to play golf. As I drove along Bob Hope Boulevard, a tree lined street that borders one of the courses on which the Bob Hope Classic is played, a fairly innocuous sign appeared at the first opening in the vegetation along this street. The small sign at the entrance read, “Welcome to the Betty Ford Center.”

Most everyone today knows that the Betty Ford Center was and is one of the premier substance abuse treatment facilities in the world. It was founded in 1982. Some of you might have gotten a sinking feeling just a moment ago as I shared the inscription on the sign on Bob Hope Boulevard. Perhaps you thought to yourself, “Well, I didn’t know that our pastor had that kind of a problem.” Maybe you assumed because I went there that I have had an identified substance abuse problem in my past. I do not, not from an addictions stand point anyway. I do come from a family that has multi-generational substance abuse and that is a problem. But, if you felt a catch in your thinking or feelings as a result of you hearing that I went to the Betty Ford Center, you now might understand why so many people who find themselves in the “Holes of Life” just quietly struggle along alone, many times never finding healing or wholeness. There is a stigma attached to many of these holes of life. In reality folks, much of the time the holes we find ourselves in are not purposeful. Initially, we don’t fall into holes, stumble into holes or jump into holes on purpose. We do however, often stay in them on purpose or go back to them on purpose because we have become accustomed to being in them. And, where we are, even if it is a hole, can be easier than climbing out and maybe falling in another. But, this time deeper, steeper or filled with…well…heaven only knows. This is illustrated by a short story entitled, “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters”, by Portia Nelson.

Autobiography In Five Short Chapters

by: Portia Nelson

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost…I am helpless, It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place but,

It isn’t my fault.

It takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in…it’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am. It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

Oh and by the way, I drove into the Betty Ford Center on November 1, 1993 to do a residency in Substance Abuse because I was teaching the substance abuse classes at the University of Evansville.

We have all been in holes. Perhaps in your life you are in a hole or a progression of holes right now. This series is designed to help you to understand some powerful principles of scripture which will enable you to stay out of holes, climb out of holes and keep out of holes for the balance of your life. Our first hole we will explore is…The Depression Hole.

Turn with me to Numbers, chapter 11 verses 14-15. You need a little background. The character speaking to God in this instance is Moses. Moses is generally accepted as the preeminent character in our Bible’s Old Testament. He was a brilliant military leader for Egypt, raised as a son of the Pharaoh, the King of Egypt. He led the children of Israel from slavery to the doorstep of the promised land. He spoke to God himself on Mount Sinai. He was called the giver of the law, shepherd of a nation. Yet, Moses had had enough negative experiences in his life that for much of his life he portrayed many of the classic symptoms of depression:

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Joanne Hillman

commented on Mar 8, 2016

One of the best sermons ever on one of the most common human afflictions. Thank you so much! --Joanne Hillman

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