Distance Doesn’t Count

As I’m writing this today the state of West Virginia is under siege. Unrelenting flood waters have attacked the state, killing at least 23 thus far and destroying uncounted homes, businesses, schools and churches. It’s gut-wrenching to watch the videos coming out of that place of beautiful mountains and verdant valleys. [NOTE: This article was written in 2016.]

Your church has been earnestly praying for the people of West Virginia, right? “But brother Don, we don’t even know them. We don’t know exactly what the needs are. And what can our prayers from such a long distance do about flood waters way over in West Virginia?” Oh, you mean our God is limited by geography? Let me tell you a story.

Ruthie and some of her passionate friends (Alcyon Fleck, May Chung, and Edna Craik) heard about the desperate conditions in some of the orphanages in Romania. So they collected a huge array of clothing and supplies and some funds and left Oregon on a mission of mercy. The airlines transported the boxes of goods at no additional cost and they were met at the airport by church members who were eager to be part of their mission. They would soon come to respect the deep spiritual commitment of Romania’s Christians.

One night in Bucharest there was a banging on the door of their hotel room. Before they could respond they heard a key being inserted into the lock. Ruthie and her two roommates rushed to try and hold the door shut, but not before it swung open far enough for them to see three burly, unsavory-looking characters who were trying to force their way into the room. Instantly they prayed and pushed, and incredibly they were able to push the men back, close the door and lock it. They called the front desk, but by the time help arrived the men were long gone.

When the ladies returned to Oregon they recounted God’s providences on the trip, including this one in the hotel. Ruthie’s prayer partner, Ginny Allen, stopped her in mid-story. “When was that?” Ginny inquired. They compared times and time zones and then Ginny said, “Wait, I remember that. I was awakened in the middle of the night with the strong sense that I needed to pray for your safety. So I rolled out of bed and pleaded that wherever you and the others were God would send His angels to protect you. And He did!”

It’s 5,931 miles from Bucharest to Portland. Obviously God is not constrained by space. After all, He created it. So no matter how far your church is from West Virginia – or anywhere else there’s a need – you can trust that God is able and eager to respond to your prayers, even if you never hear how the story ends.

By Don Jacobsen (

Written by Diane Levy


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