Saturday, January 31, 2009

Unsettled, Resettled, Then Mettle! by Robert Ricciardelli

The pathway toward the Kingdom of God is interesting, isn't it? We think we have made it to the summit only to see another pinnacle to climb. When we think we can relax, plant roots, and get comfortable, all of a sudden - a mighty wind blows, once solid foundations begin to crumble, and we stand there bewildered, asking God, "WHAT NOW?"

Please let me share a bit of our story with you…

Several years ago the Lord began to allow a stirring within Joyce and me. Our life within Corporate America became very uncomfortable. Our ministry was fully funded through my business to business sales and marketing career. God's continued favor over our business life allowed us to endure tough economic times and competition, yet all the while, an unrest seemed to settle over all that we called normal life. We sensed that God was requiring us to look beyond the security of our present circumstances, and acknowledge that life as we knew it was about to change. We spent the next 5 years knowing we were in transition, but when it finally came, it came suddenly. God told us to go - leave jobs, our beautiful home, all our family, and head to Waco, Texas. Though it came swiftly, the Father had prepared us with a resolve to serve Him wherever His Spirit led us to go, and to fulfill all that He had for us to do. (I am so blessed to have a wife who is a pioneer and sojourner with me on His journey.) In my mind, I had it all figured out. God was going to take us to the Promised Land - the land of milk and honey, and prosper us financially in the course of helping with a friend’s business start-up; all for His purposes.

So we went to Texas with the hopes of success and funding for the journey the Lord would send us on. We began to settle in. Our house in Washington was up for sale, and we had a buyer within weeks, the business concept (children's academy of movement, sports, and character training) was unique, viable, and in great demand. We had a dear godly friend and NFL veteran coach as a partner, along with a famous football player, and it was going to impact communities for Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

The Promised Land began to quickly become the backside of the desert for us. The house did not sell (it fell through 2 days before closing), the finances that went into the business was depleted, along with our life's savings and retirement, all within a matter of 9 months. Our friends also put everything they had into this adventure. What happened to the promise? Did we hear wrong? Being human, we admit we all made some mistakes, but where was the Lord in all of this? A friend said to me, "God is unsettling you to resettle you." The Lord was removing everything that stood between us and Him, so that He would be our only source.

By this time we were desperate to hear from the Lord for direction. Did the Lord want us to go back, stay, or move elsewhere? Many were praying for us and the Lord responded through His messengers. Many times through those that were not even aware of the petitions we had before the Lord, and many times through those who knew nothing about us. One passage given to Joyce was confirmed over and over in unique ways. Hebrews 11: 8, “It was by faith that Abraham…went out without knowing where he was going.” We felt we were to continue forward even if we did not have answers to all our questions. It was confirmed over and over again that we were not to go back by the way in which we came, and if we stayed on this faith journey with Him, the Lord would show us His best for our life. In the end, we felt God telling us to go east. This was not an easy decision - by any means; because many good things (but now in hindsight - not God things) seemed to open up that would allow us to return to our comfort zone. But in the end, after turning down job offers in San Diego and Seattle, with our house still empty and waiting for our return, family beckoning, and finances depleted, all the indicators still pointed East. And, in God-like fashion, as we were stretched, we became stronger in our faith like never before, (Mettle).

Many things that have come up unexpectedly have kept us on this narrow path from month to month, but the Lord has been so faithful. Had many of the things happened along the way that we “expected” to happen, we would have missed seeing the Lord intervene on our behalf, again and again. From two people who had been taught “to make it happen”, we are learning to be content in the place we find ourselves and not lean on our own understanding. We have become accustomed to, and even comfortable with “going without knowing”.

We believe God has more for us, and we are not pretending to think that we have done all the right things, or, that we have not missed His voice from time to time. We are thankful for those dear friends who have loved us, believed in us, and listened to the Father on our behalf, helping us to go and do His bidding. We are thankful for a roof over our heads, a vehicle, and our health. We are still standing. We have had divine opportunities to coach and consult, along with obedient givers to get us through each month. Our journey would send the financial prosperity message in a tailspin, but the prosperity of faith and favor has soared tremendously over us.

• Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things will be added to you for the journey ahead, to the glory of God.
• There is no cookie cutter way or method to the things God may have specifically planned for you.
• Be ready to be unsettled, resettled, and go through some repeat cycles.
• Be ready to be tested severely, but the pay off in obedience more than makes up for the pain you had to endure.
• Nothing is permanent; Christ is the only rock we can be assured of now and for all time.
• Your pain and suffering will end. There is an end and for us it is a very good end. The end of the matter is always greater than the beginning in Christ.
• All things work together for good.
• Many are the plans of man, but the Lord's purposes prevail.
• Going without knowing, is the only way to go.
• God is our only source.

Many of you have been receiving these articles for the past 8 years. Thank you for your prayers and for your love. We know the Father has heard those prayers, and each have lent strength to help us endure the path He has us on. We love you...


  1. Hi Robert,

    I met you at the house church conf in Dallas. I appreciate you sharing your story of journeying in the footsteps of Abraham. Your story sounds a bit like mine own these past few years and the story of others I know as well. It seems that God is doing a new work, by separating us from the old and fashioning a new highway in the wilderness.


    Mark Hsi

  2. Dear Robert: I am still not very comfortable with this "blogging" thing, but here goes. I have enjoyed reading your comments, printing your spanish articles and passing them to key leaders, etc.
    The tone of your e-mail was one of "good-bye". I understand. Everything has a life. A beginning, a growing, a dying, and finally, an end. Everything. So, if God is moving you on to other things, praise God.
    My story is similar. I left big business in Texas (oil field) to come to help a friend in Chile who was sick. Six months tops, I thought. Now, more than 4 years later, here I am still working. I lost almost half my pension fund in the crash. I finally cashed out after they raped and pillaged what little was left.
    I have no support from the states. None. I have learned all the vital lessons that you talked about.
    I am going to be 60 in July. Returning to the states is not an option for me, no job, too old, etc. Besides, my calling is not there.
    So, I guess I just wanted to say, "I understand." The life we have chosen to follow is not easy. It costs. But, the end of the journey makes it all worth while.
    God bless and thanks for everything.
    Pastors Mike and Marisol Sheffield
    Santiago, Chile

  3. Robert
    thanks for sharing this path. Ours seems much the same and we can share much about pioneering here in Africa.
    Remember if you look at Joseph before The Lord raised him, it looked not much like something, jail etc., but the lessons he learned was the key especially the forgiveness one.
    Have a blessed day

  4. Robert,
    Thanks for this wonderful experience that you have shared with us.I am a Pastor in Ghana. I am passing through similar experiences. When youare in thoses situations you described, you think that you are alone. But when others like you share with us that you have passed through similar challenges and came out victoriously, then we are comforted and encouraged.
    God bless you.
    Pastor Stephen and Regina Sawiri
    Accra, Ghana

  5. If I did not know that I (or my wife) did not write this, I would think that you have been following me for the past 8 months writing about my life. There has been not 1 difference in our stories. I would love the opportunity to talk to you personally.

  6. Thank your for sharing of your path and your obedience. It is a reminder to each of us that this is a journey of faith. Even at times when God seems silent, He leads us. He leads us back to the Rock, and we are able to stand when we are unsettled and He mettles. He keeps us. We have found in our journey that each step of the way is a matter of 'unentrenching us,' to not lean on our own understanding, and keeping us from living with false perceptions of God and His ways, where He shakes our foundation-- then what remains is Him-- breaking things we'd gotten entrenched in, sometimes what was precious. He mettles. Your story blessed me!

  7. Robert.

    This is an excellent post of how "Kingdom" transition works. As we endeavour to walk in the deeper reality there comes a time of real shaking as Hebrews 12:26 says, so that all that can remain is Kingdom. That passage say's not only the earth, but the 'heaven' would be shaken. This indicates that what we believe [the gospel] or the 'our' gospel will be shaken, for to whom much is given, much is required. Why? Our King only wants 'Kingdom' to remain. If what we believe can't be shaken how do we know what is true.
    It is only shaking that can reveal out hearts focus, and it is only shaking that can truly seperate sons from children, Do we have Fathers heart/agenda or is our own agenda revealed.
    Deu 32:4 [He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he. Without iniquity means without any hidden agenda.

    Keep up the good work.


  8. Thanks for sharing your moving "journey," apparently so similar to many of ours. Surely its a faith walk, but I would much rather follow what I think is His leading than to take a chance on staying behind and getting stuck in a comfort rut. We are created for adventure, and are clearly strangers in a strange land. We already know that even if we make a "wrong" move, He still has our back and goes before us - and will cause all things to work together for good, with lessons learned! What an exciting journey we are on! Who wants an average life? Apparently, many do, but we don't. Blessings to you. Your courage is inspiring.

  9. We serve an awesome and faithful God. Many have walked the journey with much pain and loneliness only to find that Jesus WAS enough to see us thru to the end. Find comfort in knowing you are in great company of believers who are being prepared for His coming!
    Jamestown, NC

  10. I cried when I read this testimony. I can identify with everything you've shared here because that is exactly where my family and I are. God took us out of our comfort zone and placed us in the middle of what looks to us like a chaotic mess. And in the midst of this chaotic mess He is showing us what He can and desires to do, which is "exceedingly, abundantly, adove and beyond anything we could ask for or imagine, according to His power that works in us" (Eph. 3:20)

  11. I can identify with you. Like you, I am also on a journey..embracing the place where I am today. God took us out of our comfort zone in 1999. The resources I had accumulated is now gone and I felt all I have is God on a day to day basis. When you said, "Our journey would send the financial prosperity message in a tailspin, but the prosperity of faith and favor has soared tremendously over us" I knew in heart God was talking to me. I am exactly in this condition now. I believe that in all these things, God works for our good because we love God and are called according to His purpose.

  12. Robert,
    We sold our income producing business in Florida, and moved to Georgia to start over again. Net result so far, we are seeing the hand of God in our daily lives in ways we could never anticipated. We know the Lord is guiding you, us and so many more thru these paths as preparation for His Awesome plan in days to come.


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