Matney: No room in the inn
The following true story reminds me that God is still active in our world, just as he was on the first Christmas when Joseph and Mary could find no room in the inn.
Here’s the story:
It was mid-October, 2005, and a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the Broncos game. Suddenly, mid-game, the weather turned nasty and a storm rolled in. My husband was in Florida on a business trip, so it was up to me to get my three-and-half-year-old twins home safely to Edwards.
Knowing a snow storm was setting in, we took a back road from Denver into Frisco. White-out conditions led the way and cars were sliding off the road in front of us. We made it to Frisco after a white-knuckled four-hour drive, only to find I-70 westbound closed at Frisco.
It was about 9 p.m., so I needed to find a hotel for the night. I drove back to Silverthorne, knowing there were several hotels there. I pulled into the first one. The parking lot was packed. I parked, grabbed the kids and went inside only to find a lobby full of people shouting, and employees announcing there were no rooms.
We ran back to the car in a complete blizzard and drove quickly to the next hotel, only to find the same situation. We continued to drive past other hotels, watching the mayhem unfold and knowing I did not want to be a part of it.
I pulled into a quiet parking lot and quietly prayed “Lord, I don’t know what to do. I’m confused and scared, I need your guidance. Please show me what I need to do right now to keep the kids and myself safe. Please Lord, let me hear you.”
After sitting in silence for a few minutes, I heard a voice inside my head telling me to drive down an unfamiliar road, and then another, and then I found myself driving back toward Frisco. I took a right and another right. I was now completely alone and had no idea where I was.
It was almost 10 p.m. and the snow was getting deeper; it was an absolute blizzard. I approached a dark road and heard the voice telling me to take a left. I sat there looking down the dark street and said to the voice, “You want me to take a left? No, it’s dark, I’ll get stuck in the snow, there are just homes down there. I am not taking a left.”
But the voice in my head got louder, “Trust me, take a left.” In my fear and refusal, I just sat there. Suddenly, my steering wheel started to turn to the left. Yes, the steering wheel began turning on its own. I said “OK, I’ll go left, I trust you.”
As I slowly drove, a street lamp appeared on the left toward the end of the road. As I approached the lamp, the voice said “You’re here.” I was amazed; an Inn actually sat there, but it was closed. I argued “What do you mean, ‘I’m here?’ It’s closed, there are no cars here, and I’ll get stuck in the snow if I pull in.” The voice said, “Trust me.” So, I pulled in and parked. The voice said “Get out, you’re here.”
So, I got out of the car, leaving my twins, knowing this would be brief. As I approached the door, I saw an “after-hours” phone. I picked it up and it automatically rang to a man who answered. I said “Hi, I-70 is closed, can I get a room here for the night?” The man on the other end abruptly said, “No, the Inn is closed, we open at Thanksgiving, I’m in Europe and can’t help you.”
Right then I heard a woman’s voice saying, “Hello, can I help you?” as she appeared from a stairwell under the Inn. I hung up the phone and said “Hi, do you work here?” She replied “Yes, are you OK?” I said “No, I-70 is closed and the hotels are booked. Can I stay here tonight? I have 3-year-old twins in the car.”
She was an older woman, she said “Oh my gosh, you have babies with you, we are closed for the offseason, but of course you will stay here, let’s get the babies.” She rushed ahead of me in the blizzard to my car to help grab the twins. She took one, I took the other and we made fresh tracks to the door of the Frisco Inn.
She led us down a warm, quiet hallway to our room for the night. It was an adorable room with a European flair. She asked if it would work for us and apologized for not having food. I just hugged her. I was amazed and so incredibly grateful to be in a warm, calm, safe space. Her name was Anne, but to me she was Saint Anne, protector of women with small children.
We awoke the next morning and there she was with hot coffee and Danishes in hand to send us on our way. The sky was clear, the parking lot and roads had been plowed and I-70 was open. We made it home safely. I have not been back, but to this day I am not sure I could find that little Frisco Inn on my own.
Friends, I pray you too will call on the name of Jesus during this Christmas season. He will guide you through the dark night of your soul. He sent Jesus into a cold, dark world to seek and to save the lost and lead them to safety. He’ll do the same for you. As Romans 8:32 states: “He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Dan Matney is the pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Avon. Email him at email@example.com.