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Frankie Mazzapica - How Long Will I Struggle?

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    Frankie Mazzapica - How Long Will I Struggle?
TOPICS: Struggles

Thank you for tuning in today. My name's Frankie Mazzapica, the title of today's message is, How Long Will I Struggle? How long, there are seasons where the struggle is very short. It's just a few days, it's a bad day. You get out of it pretty quick. But then there are certain struggles, it goes on for several days, it goes on for several weeks, several months, many of us have carried struggles that go on for years. And David was experiencing that very same thing, and he's saying to the Lord: how long do I have to struggle? And then he gets incredibly transparent and uses words that I would not have thought of, but when I hear his words, I think, yes, that's how I feel too.

So the chapter that we're gonna study today, it only has six verses, but when I share the chapter, you may think like I thought when I read it. It feels like the chapter was written by two different people, because at the beginning of the chapter, he is lamenting, he is complaining, he is struggling, but then just five verses, four verses later, he's rejoicing and it feels like there was two people writing. One person wrote the first half, the second person wrote the second half because how can one person experience such a dichotomy of emotions so quickly?

Let me dive right into it, it's in Psalms chapter 13, I'm gonna share with you verses 2, verses 3, and then the very last verse, which is verse 6, David says this, "How long, Lord, will you forget me"? Have you ever been there? God, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long will I have to struggle with anxiety or anxiousness in my soul? How long will I feel the sorrow in my heart? Am I gonna have to experience it every single day? He goes on to say, "How long will my enemy have the upper hand"? And then we're just gonna jump to the very last verse. So that was verses 2 and 3, and then just two verses later, he says, "But I will trust in God's unfailing love". Now, here's the kicker, the last few words, "And I will rejoice because he has rescued me".

Now, I wanna go, yes, God has rescued you, but I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa whoa, before I throw confetti in the air, how did you get from here to here? Are you with me, say yes. Come on, are you with me, say yes. So let me just kind of unpack it with three major points. The first point is noticing that he said, "how long" four times in a row? It's like how long, so the first point is gonna be, "how long," we're gonna talk about that. The second point is gonna be, how long will my enemy have the upper hand? And then the third point, is we're gonna talk about how we got to the rejoicing moment. So how long, how long, how long, how long, am I going to live feeling lost? How long am I going to have to hide my depression, my addiction? How long am I going to have to wait for my finances to change? How long, how long is this season going to be?

I wanna say that these seasons are excruciating. Long seasons that are extraordinarily difficult, are the exact season that has the power to change the trajectory of your life. I'm not saying that all of a sudden we should start enjoying them, but how we respond in difficult seasons determines whether or not we are moving forward or whether or not we are falling backwards. There are two thoughts that we think when we're saying, how long am I going to be here? The first thought is, how did I get here? Did I say something? Did I do something that has put me in this struggling, tormenting season? And oftentimes the answer is yes, I put me here. My life is chaotic and I'm struggling because I put me here.

Then there's this other category where you didn't put you there, you are a victim. Somebody else pushed you there, they inflicted you, you're not in this season. You didn't... it's not of any wrongdoing on your own. You just found yourself in the season. Maybe somebody didn't push you into the season, you just discovered, I'm in the middle of a battle, I'm in the middle of a fight, and I didn't even pick the fight. Are you with me? Let me talk about both scenarios. In the scenario where you say, I have put me here, this is a very important moment because it has the power to completely change your relationship with the Lord. It has the power to all of a sudden begin to feel momentum with God in a greater way than you ever have before.

Because when you realize that you put yourself there, you say to the Lord, God, if you will rescue me, I promise, for the rest of my life, I will not allow myself to ever go back here again. If you will help me, Lord, this is a line in the sand for me. I'm not going back, I'm not gonna say that, I'm not gonna do that, I'm not going back. Have you ever said that before? I'm not going back to that, come on, not going back. When you decide to draw a line in the sand, to say, God, I will not go back to that lifestyle, your relationship with God instantly goes to a different level. You have closed the last chapter, you're going into a new chapter.

Often times people stay in the same chapter for far too long. But it's that moment where you back up and say, rescue me and this is over. But then the category of you just woke up and you were there. You're saying, how long do I have to be here? I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't say anything wrong, I just woke up, and the season changed, or I don't know when the season changed, but it's changed and I don't like it. And how long am I going to be here? This is another critical moment that also has the power to change your entire relationship with God, because you are noticing, very keenly, all the emotions that you're having. You're noticing what you're thinking, you're feeling yourself struggle or even get depressed. And many of us have said, God, if you will get me out of this season, I promise I will look for people who are feeling what I'm feeling and struggling with what I'm struggling with, and I will commit my life to helping them because I know what this feels like. Are you with me?

Very, very critical because once again, this is changing your relationship with the Lord. I know what it feels like to be addicted to drugs, I'm gonna look, I'm drawing a line, I'm done with it, and I'm gonna look for people who are, and I'm gonna help them along. I'm not gonna cry anymore about loss in my life. I'm drawing a line, not that it will ever stop hurting, but now I'm gonna start looking for people who have experienced loss so that I can walk them through. These are critical moments with the Lord. When you say, how long, how long, how long? This is a big moment. You're drawing lines in the sand and you're actually recognizing your assignment because where you have been hurt are the exact areas where you are able to help. Are you with me, you're able to help.

My wife's father died, how many years ago, seven years ago. She has experienced the loved one who has passed away. When she talks to other people about a loved one that they lost, she's able to have compassion, have sympathy, and also offer to be a source of strength. Why, because she knows what it feels like. Don't talk with me about it. I have compassion but I cannot relate. Both of my parents are still alive. You see where you have been hurt, that's where you can heal. Very, very important, let's talk about now, the enemy having the right hand, the upper hand, the victorious hand. How long will they be stronger? How long will they have the upper hand? You know, I don't know about you, but I have experienced many seasons in my life where I just feel like I'm losing. I'm not talking about one area of my life, although I have experienced that too, I'm doing well in all the areas except for that one, but I have experienced many seasons where I feel like I'm losing in all of the areas.

Have you ever been there? You're losing as a parent, not that you are, but you feel that way. I'm losing as a parent, I'm losing as a husband, I'm losing as a spouse, my career, I don't even wanna talk about that. Just everything is losing. This is when the enemy has the upper hand. Often time, there is a person that is provoking and challenging you, and you're just like, oh my goodness, I'm losing because, see, if there's one thing I can not handle, the Lord has not healed me of this yet, is when somebody comes at me aggressively. They just start yelling at me or they just, rah! Well, I'm going to meet your crazy and raise you by ten crazies. You don't know what crazy is, I invented crazy. I'm gonna go nuts, I am half-Brazilian, I'm half Italian, that's a cocktail mix for nuts. How long will that provoker have the upper hand?

You know, this is what I've learned, that when the enemy feels like he has the upper hand, we have to back up and come up with a strategy. You know, this is how I believe David went from crying, from hurting, from struggling to all of a sudden rejoicing. You back up and you almost face it like I would face a chess game. You see in a chess game, there are pawns that they're the least valuable piece on the board. They can move one space at a time, they can't even move backwards, they have to move forwards or to the side. Even they can't even take a right or a left it has to go like, there's... the movement is so minimal. There's a whole bunch of pawns because all together they're worth not a lot. People will sacrifice these pawns left and right.

Now all the other pieces, these are very dynamic pieces. They can move in very creative ways. For me, when I play chess, I don't have the ability to see two, three, four moves in advance. Where I think to myself, I'm gonna do this, they're gonna do this, I'm gonna do this, they're gonna do this, you know, that's not me. I can see my next move and that's it. And so when the person on the other side of the board, they make a move. I always do the same thing. I look to see if my king is in danger. I'm looking sideways, I'm looking down, I'm looking this way, I stand on the table, look down. I wanna know, did you just do something to put my king in danger?

Once I feel like my king is in a safe place, now I look. And I'm not entirely creative, I can't see real far, but I do know my next right move. Maybe it's just taken a pawn, maybe I'm not taking anything, maybe I'm just moving forward. I just do my next move, even though it may be a very small move. When you are wondering, how long is the enemy gonna have the upper hand? How long is this person gonna be able to push me and confront me and provoke me? How long is this addiction gonna be there, is this relationship gonna struggle, how long? I wanna say this, you are in a warfare. In 2 Corinthians 2, verse 11, it says we should not be unaware of the devil's schemes.

You see, the first thing we do, like chess, is you check to make sure your relationship with the king is okay. You make sure that that spot is there. I'll tell you this, if you are not praying to the king, you have no relationship with the king. If you are not opening your mouth and speaking to him, speaking to the Lord, you have no relationship with the Lord. You may acknowledge his existence, acknowledge his goodness, acknowledge the cross, but you have no relationship with him if you are not talking to him. You may say, how do we know that that's true? Well, is there anyone in your life that you have a close relationship with, but you do not talk to them? Come on, if you have to talk to a friend, if you have to talk to a family member, a husband, a wife, a child, how much more do we need to talk to our Father? How much more do we need to talk to our Father?

Just like any other relationship, you know, my daughter is home for the weekends and I hope she comes home every weekend, but when she's off to college and I call her, we very rarely talk for a long time. But we do talk for a few moments often. That relationship has continued. You have to talk often. You have to pray often. Yes, you'll pray in your head, yes, you'll pray in your heart, but you've got to open your mouth. And if you can't open your mouth to say, I love you, I love you, you have to ask the question, why not, and what's keeping you from doing that? This, once you establish the king's relationship with you is at a good place, the Lord will always show you the next right step. He'll always show you.

Now, he may not show you how to go the four moves ahead, he may not show you four days, five days, six weeks ahead, but he'll always show you your next right step. And as we do that, the enemy that we're facing, he no longer has the upper hand. The shift in power is taking place because the king is in the right place. You're talking to your Father and you're taking the next right step. It may be little baby steps, but just keep watching me, don't quit on me, I'm telling you, I'm not where I used to be. Are you with me? So what have we talked about so far? We've talked about how these, "how long," "how long" moments are actually critical moments in our life because we draw lines in the sand. And then these enemy moments, we shift the power whenever we begin to make sure that the Lord is in its right place and we're taking these small steps.

But then here's the big question, how did he get from hurting to rejoicing? Yes, the first step, the second step was incredibly important. But the third step, now, that's the one that is most perplexing to struggle and then rejoice in such a short amount of time. Just a few verses. It's like writing a poem. Those of you who can write poems, you can usually do it in one setting because all of your emotions and thoughts kind of start in one stanza and move to the next. David was a songwriter. He was a poet. He felt his season, his mindset moving from one to the next. How did he get there? I'll say it this way. That wasn't the first time David had ever struggled before. That wasn't the first battle he's ever had to fight. There were battles that he has had to fight continually.

You see Goliath called out to David, called out to the army, saying, come get me, I'm... you got yourself a fight on your hands and the prize is massive, but you gotta come through me and I'm calling you out. This addiction spirit, I'm calling you out. This lonely, I'm calling you out. This depression, I'm calling you out. There are certain giants that will call you out and you know, you gotta face that giant. Every person fights a different giant. But you know that you're gonna have to face this giant and the prize that the Lord has for you, the new season that's waiting for you, is after you conquer that giant. It's after you conquer that giant, and if you stand there and you don't move, that giant isn't going anywhere, you'll have to face that giant, be afraid of that giant, be frozen in your boots, until you fight that giant.

And how do you fight that giant? You fight it the same way you take the enemy's victorious hand, his upper hand and rip it down. The same way you change the shift in power is the same way you attack the giant. There's no creative ways to be victorious. You look at the king, you talk with the king, you make sure that you're really relationship with the king is where it should be. You take your next step and before you know it, I can't explain how it happens, but you begin to move and shift from struggling to rejoicing. You look, you look at that giant and you say I'm tired of facing you. I'm tired of this season, we're gonna go at it. Come on, I'm ready. Let's do this.

Do you know that in Revelation 3:8, Jesus says this, "For I have opened a door for you". Watch, "I know that you are very weak, but you have kept my Word". What he saying is, I know you're weak, but there's a door opened for you. Now, for the Lord to open up a door and for us to actually walk through that door, for the Lord to say there's a new season, and for us to actually go through that season, that requires a degree of maturity. We walk through seasons and then we begin to know, I've been here before, I know what his voice sounds like, and we begin to walk through open doors. Does that help anybody today, come on.
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