Mysterious Ways: The Miraculous Billboard

Two women, traveling by car through a blizzard, search desperately for shelter for the night.

By Ruth Schenck, Frankfort, Indiana

As appeared in

Twelve hundred miles to go, I thought, pulling onto the highway here in Indiana, my 75-year-old mother-in-law in the passenger seat. My oldest daughter was getting married in San Antonio, Texas, in a few days, and we were anxious to get down there.

It was a beautiful, sunny March day, light jacket weather, and barely any traffic. We’d get to Texas in no time at all, I figured.

Wrong. The lamblike weather quickly turned into a lion. Flurries began to fall before we even hit the Illinois state line. By the time we got to Joplin, Missouri, we were in a blinding snowstorm. I couldn’t see past the hood of the car.

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I glanced at my mother-in-law. Mom had heart problems and high blood pressure, one reason we’d driven instead of flown. To avoid the stress, supposedly. Pulling over and waiting it out wasn’t an option. We could get stuck. I couldn’t risk that with Mom in the car.

I kept going, slowly and carefully. Mom kept her eye on the shoulder of the road, making sure we were headed straight.

“We’ve got to stop somewhere,” I finally said. It was too dangerous to keep driving.

“Where?” Mom asked.

Up ahead, amidst the swirling snow, I could just make out a shadowy shape. A billboard: “Holiday Inn, Next Right.”

We exited onto a narrow country lane, skidding slightly at the turn, and then drove through thick woods for almost a mile. We’re lost, I thought. Our situation was getting desperate.

Then I saw it: a one-story building that looked like a motel, with a parking lot. No sign, but it had to be the place the billboard had advertised. We parked next to a cement mixer and walked to the front. A decal was plastered on the door: “Holiday Inn.”

The woman at the front desk looked surprised to see us. “Can I help you?” she asked.

“We’d like a room for the night,” I said.

“I’m sorry, we’re not open yet. We’re actually still under construction...” Then she looked at Mom and glanced outside at the weather. “But we do have a few rooms ready with beds. You are more than welcome to one.”

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By noon the next day, the sky and the roads were clear. I went to the front desk to return the key. “You’re lucky you weren’t stranded on the highway last night,” the woman said.

“I saw your billboard, thank God.”

The woman looked confused. “We don’t have a billboard,” she said. “We haven’t even put up our sign here yet. Only the decal on the door...”


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Your Comments (4)

I had chills upon reading the last paragraph! God indeed is great! If I were in the exact predicament as you were with your mother in law, I would have panicked and probably parked at the sides of the road and wait anxiously in the car because I would be too afraid to do anything at all! You must have been a good samaritan yourself to have been able to experience such a miracle that probably saved your life!

God is great. He always lends a helping hand when we are in need of one. Only we have to look around. He is always ready to help us. He loves us. We forget it when we confront problems. Just hand over the problems to God. And He will take care of it. But we are afraid of a total surrender. Just think that the Almighty is all powerful and that His might is beyond our imagination. He can work wonders in our life. His love is overpowering than anything else in this world. Only He asks you to surrender to Him and let miracles happen in your life....

As a Missourian, I'm curious as to what year this took place.

God does still work miracles.