The Knoxville News Sentinel reported this past week on a story involving a groundskeeper at Dollywood Theme Park. It woud seem this worker was cleaning the park and discovered an item that caught his eye underneath a park bench. The item was a small piece of paper – “soggy, seared and torn in two” – lying in a small pool of water. When he picked up the paper he recognized it as a page from the Bible, a page from the first chapter of Joel (KJV).
“O Lord to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures and 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 (KJV).
Isaac McCord was the employee of Dollywood who found the piece of scripture, he self describes himself as not being a highly religious man and yet, he states that finding this scripture brought him to tears and caused him to pray with a co-worker. He was so moved by his find that he has vowed to re-examine his life and look deeper at the role religion should hold in his life. He hopes that this story brings hope and reinforces the faith of others in the aftermath of the tragedy in Gatlinburg.
The Book of Joel in the Bible speaks to a time where Israel was in need of revival. A time where so much of its greatness had faded and the judgement of the Lord was upon them. Even then, God called for His people to call unto Him:
“Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord” – Joel 1:14 (KJV).
Sometimes it takes a tragedy for us to be jolted into seeing the true picture around us and our need for God in everyday life. It is my prayer that the people of Gatlinsburg will bond together and remember God – He is there for them in the midst of their tragedy. Like Isaac McCord, may we all take a few moments to re-examine our lives and look closer at the walk we have with God. May we all know and understand that our hopes and faith can be placed in no better hands than those of our loving father…God.
Christian Helplines, Inc. serves Christ by looking to make disciples who will go out and make a difference for Christ in the world around them. The “How Can I Help?” series of training materials was created for this purpose and has been serving the Christian community for over 30 years. Please take a look to see if our ministry might be a benefit to your church or organization, if so, we would love the opportunity to come and train disicples! If you see value but already have a program in your church – feel free to inquire about sponsoring a class at another church. Your donations can be directed to our being able to offer the training to churches that might otherwise never be able to afford training on their own.
God Bless you all this holiday season! As always your prayers and support are greatly appreciated!