GATLINBURG, Tenn. — In times of great tragedy, people often look for signs of light in the darkness.
They looked for it after the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting. They looked for it after the horrific flooding earlier this year in Louisiana.
And now they’re looking for it after this week’s deadly wildfires around Gatlinburg, Tenn. And some found it in a burned Bible page that an amusement park employee says he picked up.
Isaac McCord, an employee at Dollywood, and a co-worker were helping clean up the theme park, which had to be evacuated when flames neared its gates.
Under a bench, McCord said he found a partially burned page from the Bible.
What’s readable is part of the first chapter of the book of Joel: “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.”
“It was one of the most surreal moments of my life, both emotionally and spiritually,” McCord said. “I was in utter shock when I read what I found. At first I just thought it was maybe a piece of newspaper or maybe a magazine, but I was curious to see if I could find out where it came from, or how far it traveled … so I got down on my knees to get a better look and realized it was a page from the Bible.”
McCord immediately took a picture of what he had found and posted it to Facebook, where it has been shared tens of thousands of times.
Many commenters took it as a sign from God.
“This is a fall on your knees moment,” one woman wrote. “Prayers for Gatlinburg and all of us.”
“I have goosebumps. Makes you wonder,” another woman wrote.
McCord said the burned page sparked a feeling that speaks to a lot of people.
“It provides hope and faith,” he said. “That’s why I shared it.”
McCord has put the page in a plastic protector and plans to frame it.