Dollywood Employee Finds Poignant Bible Verse, Charred by Gatlinburg Wildfire
When Dollywood employee Issac McCord scanned the property, picking up after the devastating wildfires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., he wasn't expecting to find a divine message.
The 24-year-old discovered a charred piece of paper clinging to his rake and was shocked when he saw the inscription. It appeared to be a page of the Bible, and the verse? Well, it hit close to home.
"As soon as I got down on the ground, I noticed it was a Bible verse, and I was like holy crap," McCord remembers, according to USA Today. "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."
The passage is from the first chapter of Joel — the King James Version — and reads: "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.”
McCord posted a photo of the paper on Facebook, where it was shared more than 50,000 times.
"We were like this is unreal, this is unbelievable," McCord recalls, speaking of his coworker, Misty Carver. "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.”
The poignant verse is a perfect reflection of the tragedy that swept the Smoky Mountains on Nov. 27 and 28, charring 500 acres, leaving three people dead and destroying more than 150 structures. Dollywood itself remains largely intact. Dolly Parton, who not only owns the theme park but grew up in the area, reacted to the tragic events, noting her thankfulness that many of Gatlinburg's defining businesses were spared.
“I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken,” she says. “I am praying for all the families affected by the fire and the firefighters who are working so hard to keep everyone safe. It is a blessing that my Dollywood theme park, the DreamMore Resort and so many businesses in Pigeon Forge have been spared."
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