Is God trying to tell us something? Many people think a lone Bible page, found at Dollywood theme park, after the devastating Gatlinburg, Tennessee, fires is a message from above.
The page, from the book of Joel, was found by Isaac McCord, a University of Tennessee alumnus who currently works as a human resources training coordinator at Dollywood, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. McCord was sweeping under a park bench when he noticed the piece of paper — wet, burnt, and torn in two.
“As soon as I got down on the ground, I noticed it was a Bible verse, and I was like holy cr*p,” McCord told the Sentinel in a phone interview on Tuesday. “It was in a puddle of water. I said, ‘I want to take care of this the best way I can,” so I gently scooped it up and carried it out the best I could.”
— Erin (@erininknox) November 30, 2016
McCord sat on the park bench and started trying to read what was written on the page. What he read left him speechless — the words perfectly described the tragedy that had taken place in Gatlinburg the night before.
“To you, O Lord to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” – Joel 1:19-20, King James Version
Isaac called his coworker Misty Carver over to the bench and had her read the verse as well. Then, the pair sat in silence as they started to pray with tears welling up in their eyes.
“We were like this is unreal, this is unbelievable,” McCord said. “When we had both fully read it, we looked at each other — and I will never forget this moment — we both burst into tears. I was ghost white, and we just prayed. There was nothing else to do. Still to this moment, almost four hours after the fact, I don’t have words for it.”
— CNN (@CNN) November 29, 2016
Isaac later shared a photo of the charred page of the Bible on Facebook, which lead to thousands of social media users questioning whether or not the Bible verse was a sign from God.
“Just like we talked about. God speaks to us in many different ways and through many different people,” one Facebook user commented on McCord’s post, while another wrote, “This is exactly what I thought when the fires started as the Bible states the next cleansing of this Earth will be via fire. Folks need to start paying attention to this information that is right in front of our eyes.”
“God has amazing ways of getting our attention! Thank you for sharing so we all could be amazed together and look to His soon coming,” another comment read.
The fires have reached highway to Gatlinburg. Our Smoky Mountains, firemen, & evacuees all need our prayers tonight y’all. Lift them up. pic.twitter.com/ycaKY75kbh
— Kaitlyn Cupples (@kaity_cupp14) November 29, 2016
McCord says he recognizes that there will be some people who question the truthfulness of his story, and to those, he assures them it really happened, and says the incident has made a lasting impact and has also made him reevaluate the role religion plays in his life.
“I wanted to share this message because it brought me to tears. I wanted to share this message because I think that faith and hope is very powerful in a situation like this. There are hundreds of people that are displaced and that have lost their homes. Most of these people will cling to faith. By no means was I trying to get social recognition…. I would say to anyone who wants to call it fake, call me. Please call me. It is something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
[Featured Image by Oleg Krugliak/ Shutterstock]