But a lone Bible page survived the flames and is drawing attention, and inspiring faith around the world.
Isaac McCord, who found the page while cleaning up debris from the Dollywood park grounds, told USA Today, “As soon as I got down on the ground, I noticed it was a Bible verse…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.”
McCord, 24, who is a human resources training coordinator, read the page, the edges of which were burned black. Some of the words were illegible, but remarkably, the parts that were preserved seemed to speak directly to the tragic natural disaster.
A scripture from Joel 1:19-20 King James Version, said, “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.”
“At first, we didn’t know what part of the book it was from,” McCord said of him and his work partners’ findings. But then, when they realized its origin, their reaction was that of disbelief.
“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.”
For McCord, it seemed to clearly be a divine moment.
When the stunned discoverer posted a photo of the charred Bible page on Facebook, it went viral. Dollywood public relations workers contacted McCord to tell him his status update had been shared more than 50,000 times.
According to USA Today, McCord wasn’t a highly religious man prior to his discovery, didn’t go to church every Sunday, or read the Bible often. But he has been deeply touched by the occurrence in light of the fact that several co-workers lost their homes in the untamable blaze.
“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,” said McCord.
God works in mysterious ways.