Davey and Amanda Blackburn: What the media won’t share.

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I was finishing up a team building activity with my staff on Tuesday morning when my phone lit up. Text messages and phone calls started pouring in.

“Pastor Mike did you know Davey’s wife Amanda was shot!?”

I prayed with my staff and headed up to the hospital. I imagined the worst as I stepped off the elevator and made my way to the ICU.

As I walked into the room I expected the worst.  As a pastor I have walked into a lot of terrible situations.

I was floored, literally tearing up with what I experienced.

Hope.

Powerful, deep hope.

Not hope like I hope the doctors can fix this.  It was a hope that was bigger than medicine or anything temporal. Their stability seemed to stand independent from any earthly fix and it was bold and clear. Their faith in heaven and in Christ was just as clear as the sun breaking through the clouds after a storm.

Then it hit me. Hope in Jesus stands clearest when it isn’t competing for anything else.

They had hope and it clearly wasn’t in anything like money, health, or medicine.

I could see the powerful effect of years of deep, generational spiritual formation. No one could ever be ready for this type of tragedy, but in a way,  they were.  Absolutely there were tears and sorrow, but there was an aura of hope that hung above it all.

When you see a family rooted so deeply in their faith standing boldly in the face of something so tragic it makes Jesus look so powerful. Not powerful because he stopped the tragedy, but powerful because of the hope he gives people through it.

I, even as a pastor, was in awe of the power of hope.  After spending time with the family I walked away thinking three things.

First, the world is broken. No doubt.

Second, real faith in Christ is very powerful!  I can’t underscore this enough.  The greater Blackburn family is amazing! I watched Dr. Jim Blackburn (Grandpa) reassure the family and bring hope in a way I have never seen before.  I pray I can be a man of hope like him one day!

Third, I pray I am giving my children a cornerstone as rock solid as that of the Blackburn family.

I am afraid popular media is missing the real main story.  The truth is people die every day.  Christians are even killed regularly around the world.  The real story isn’t the hardship this awesome family has to face, it’s the strength that is carrying them through.  That’s what is truly newsworthy.  The extended family has a real faith and wow, is it powerful.

Here is how you can help.

  1. Share the hope, not just the tragedy.  So, share this blog.
  2. Grow your own heart!  This is one of the best books I have ever read on spiritual formation.  N.T. Wright is one the the leading Christian authors alive today and this book absolutely can change your life.

AfterYouBelieveBook

As I reflect on this all I can think is how powerful Christ is as our Cornerstone.  That’s the real story.  I am also certain this is the story the greater Blackburn family wants to be known.  

#sharethehope

The song that rings in my spirit is one our worship leader at www.encountertrinity.com wrote awhile back.

65 thoughts on “Davey and Amanda Blackburn: What the media won’t share.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my dad this past Easter and have ask him to please welcome and watch over your wife and child and it know he will! There is one thing that these cowards that take lives can’t take away from you and that is your heart where your wife and child will be forever now! Please know you and your son are in my thoughts and prayers!

  1. What a wonderfully written tribute to this family and their faith! I do not know them all personally, I only know Darla and she is amazing. So to imagine a whole room full of people natured like her must be amazing! I pray for Davey and the entire family (hers and his) that they continue to stay strong in their faith, that they continue to support and love one another as Christ wants. That this small child grows up to know how amazing his mommy was and that she is waiting for him one day and they will be reunited. God bless them all.

  2. I do not know Pastor and Mrs. Blackburn personally, but it’s amazing to me how many people that I know, whose lives they have touched. When people serve the Lord, their lives touch so many. This will affect so many people…. people that have hope of eternal life and people that do not have that hope. All week I have followed this unbelievable story and prayed for all of them. I will continue to pray as God uses this for His glory

  3. Praying that God will continue to be glorified even in such a tragedy. Our prayers are with them. May God wrap his loving arms around them and draw them close. Does anyone know where you can send cards to the family? Thank you.

  4. Praying for the Broken one that cause such pain!!! And Praying for Amanda’s family, friends, and those lives she has touch and is touching now! God is Good all the time!

  5. Why would Jesus give hope to this family and all others knowing he was going to tear this family apart by taking away this mother and wife. Awful. There is no hope for this situation other than lets hope it doesn’t happen again but it will. It happens everyday. Find peace in the situation which will happen in Time only. Jesus and an all living God took her away which brought so much pain to this family. why would God do this ??

    1. If this world was perfect with no hurt, sickness, or death, there would be no need for a Savior. Things like this, bad things, happen because (as Christians we believe when sin entered the world, we were cast from God’s perfect place) it creates a longing for something better. It is meant to point us back to Christ where our ultimate hope for a better future comes from. “Hope” doesn’t mean “I hope there’s a God or a heaven” it means BECAUSE we know there is a God and He has prepared a place for us in heaven, this earth and all that happens here doesn’t define our home or our future. There is a better home, perfect even, waiting for us after our body dies.

      1. I agree with Shelly. Why would God do such a horrible thing to this family? Why did God create sin and evil and allow it to rule his creation? There are no answers.

      2. Beautifully written, Kathryn! It is our foundation, our hope and salvation that our Father in Heaven has promised us if we just accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour we will have eternal life! What an amazing promise!

      3. God didn’t do this. .God gives us all free will and someone who is without God in their life did this to this family. God is giving the family hope that they will see her again in Heaven. .hope that she is without pain and happy. . Hope that God will give the family the strength and peace to go through this tragedy. God will also give you that same hope and peace!

    2. Jesus did not pull the trigger. Where there is tragedy such as this, and many unexpected losses-there is usually humans involved that cause it, because they were not followers of Christ, the person that pulled the trigger, is a very broken soul, that is God’s specialty, healing brokeness-but only when we ask him. If he swooped in at every human crisis to stop it, no one would try to change their ways, Bad things do happen to good people, and that is why. Putting your hope and trust in our Awesome God does not make any of us immune to tragedy-God loves us and would never pull the trigger on us-ever. Fleshy human behavior, bad judgement, drunkeness, drugs, selfishness, power, money-human mistakes, some that can never be taken back-is most always at the root of evil crimes and crisis. And where these things exist-God has not been invited to partake in these lives, perhaps because no one has talked of God. Having just a mustard seed of faith in Christ and truly opening the door to your heart to Jesus, and you will want to change your ways. You have to want Christ in your life, everyday, and you will experience his presence, asking him in to your heart, and tell him you want him guiding the way. This sad, unnecessary, awful tragedy that has senselessly torn this family, they can not undo it, but they love the Lord and know it was not his doing, it was a fleshy human, misguided, lost, and empty inside who did this. But there are so many like that in our world. God did not make them that way, but he can fix them, only when they ask him and turn their life over to him. This young Pastor knows that he has the love and comfort of our great God to wipe away his tears, and that will get him through. No he will not curses God and run from God-he will only draw nearer. I will be praying for God, to hold this family in his loving arms.

    3. God did NOT do this. God did not cause the criminal to murder her. God gave us a free will and the criminal acted on his free will. We have a choice to do good or bad. It also rains on the just and the unjust. God is already getting a lot of glory out of this situation and family with more to come. God is amazing since he is taking a horrific murder and will ultimately touch many people through it.

    4. God gives free will to everyone, unfortunately evil people have free will just like good people. The glorious thing about being a Christian is feeling his comfort and knowing that what we have on earth isn’t the end. We’re only here for a short time, then if you have a relationship with Christ, you’ll spend a glorious eternity with him. That’s why this family has hope. They know they will see Amanda again and will spend eternity with her and her precious baby. That’s why this family doesn’t blame God, because he didn’t do this, a man with free will to make his own decisions did it. He will have to answer to God for this or ask for forgiveness and change his ways while he still has time. I’m willing to also believe, that this family has even forgiven the killer, because there is no room for anger or hate in a Christians heart. All of this is hard for non Christians to understand, but when you give your life to Jesus, it’s a way of life. He gives you an inner strength you never knew you had. You feel his presence living within you and your life begins to change.

    5. I understand your question and your sorrow, wondering where the good in this situation is. Wondering how a loving God could allow this to happen. Here is what I believe, and what I have come to know from my walk with God:

      It wasn’t Jesus who tore the family apart – it was the robber’s choice to shoot Amanda that caused this tragedy. The hope found in this situation is IN JESUS. We are living in a broken, sinful world – God gave humankind free will; we can make our own choices. We can follow Him or not. That doesn’t change His love for us, or His promise to be with us ALWAYS – hence the hope IN Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20).

      Did God know this was going to happen, yes. Does that mean He caused it to happen, no. I can promise you that He is right there with every single family member and person affected by this (you and I included) – and He will be beside them every step of the way. Jesus is the peace to be found in the situation (Philippians 4:7 – Jesus’ peace surpasses our understanding and is freely given to us when we seek Him).

      I hope this is helpful to you.

    6. Because God is a loving God He allows people to make choices. The choice the shooter made was one to murder an innocent life. But because He is a loving God, he can turn this into a beautiful story, and one for His glory. As He does for all who love Him. We as humans can’t fathom the love and grace that He has for us, that is wer faith is manifest.

    7. Shelly, our hope is not that God will keep us physically safe – He never promises that. He only promises that He will be with us through whatever happens. Our hope is in the life to come. It is not a hope that tells us everything will be perfectly easy for us here, but the hope (really assurance) that ultimately there is a reason for whatever we go through here – though we may never know what it is. And above all else, that we are God’s, and He has a place for us.

    8. Shelly, what I think what you fail to see from the Christian perspective is that we have hope of an eternity with Christ. The hope is that others will join us with God in heaven when the time comes and maybe Amanda Blackburn will be a part of that story. No doubt there will be hard times ahead for Davey and his boy, but the peace of Christ can transcend the situation and change lives for eternity. We are souls in a body and not the other way around, Amanda’s life is not over since she is with God now. That’s the victory and the hope. We all die and that’s a fact that can not be avoided. What happens after that is up to us. We either choose Christ or we don’t. I’ve seen and felt hope through Christ in hard times and heard of miracles happening in Jesus name even this year, but even those who receive miracles die. The hope is in the eternal with a loving God.

    9. God did not cause this tragedy. We were created in a perfect world in God’s perfect image. We were given free will to make choices in our lives. When Christ died on the Cross, it was God the Father’s ultimate sacrifice to all of us. His son, Jesus, died for all the sin of this world so that we didn’t have to and at the same time we were given free choice to either, 1) live In this world (on our own power) and deal with and be a part of the sin and tragedy that comes with living for ourselves, or 2) accept Jesus as our Savior and, as a child of God, live a life that is pleasing to Him. God does not force Himself on us. He has given us the ability to make a conscious choice to live for Him. The Blackburn tragedy is indeed just that, a tragedy. But the Hope that comes with knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior is the fact that the Blackburn family can rest in the Peace and Assurance of Christ knowing that they will all join Amanda and her unborn child one day in a place that God has prepared for them where there is no sickness or evil. The man who made the choice to break into the Blackburn home is the cause of this tragedy. But the Blackburn family’s choice to live as Children of God is where the Hope comes from that there is a better place and one day they will all be together again. As Children of God, He also gives them His Peace and Comfort to get them through this tragedy.

    10. Shelly Davis. Jesus didn’t take her away, a sick & sinful person did. He is a loving God who did not make us puppets so that He could pull our strings to control us. He gave us free choice, to do right or do wrong. Unfortunately, some people choose to do wrong. This tragedy will be used for good, to show the world there is a great and loving God who ALWAYS gives us hope, in every circumstance of our life. I hope that you Shelly will look to Jesus too and realize that He is there to give you hope, whatever you are facing.

    11. God didn’t do this, but sometimes He allows things to happen. This family lived for Christ and His name will be glorified through this tragedy. I have been where you are. I am personally dealing with a lifelong degenerative condition that I didn’t not bring on myself from my lifestyle and it’s getting worse by the year. I don’t understand why I have to deal with the pain and agony of this, but I feel that my faith in Jesus is holding me strong. Although I have been dealing with this for 22 of my 36 years, I still believe in God’s Word and I still believe that He will heal my body from head to toe. There are things going on in the spiritual realm that are beyond our level of comprehension. I’m not delirious, I’m a follower of Christ.

    12. Our hope is actually placed in Jesus Christ who died for us. As we accept His gift of salvation, we know we will live in Heaven eternally. This earth is filled with sin. It wasn’t God’s plan – when you read Genesis you know He created a perfect world. But man chose otherwise. Still God loves us. But we are not puppets and man does as he wills. But for the family of Amanda, they know their “hope” is an assured reality that her death is for her a victory because she is with her Savior. God did not do this to Amanda. The one who pulled the trigger did. But He is comforting the family and that is a fact we can all rejoice in.

    13. God has a plan, shelly, not a plan to kill this woman, but a greater plan to teach us and prepare us for eternal life with him. this mother is with Jesus, safe, comforted. Her family will learn to know the Savior as they would not have known Him without this tragedy. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Jesus said, “What I do now, thou knowest not, but thou shalt know hereafter.” That is my confidence and hope, I don’t have to know, I know Jesus and I can trust Him. Leave it with Him shelly, yes it hurts, and you can let Him comfort you with a comfort no one else can give. I love you, Gammy

    14. Jesus did not do this horrible thing. Everyone is given free will to make their own decisions and that is what this evil person did. We have taken Jesus and God out of everything and then people want to blame him when something tragic happens. The hope we have as Christians is that we will all one day be united and never have to deal with the the evil of this world anymore. I am so glad that I have that hope! Can’t Imagine going through this cruel and evil world without that hope. Would be a cold, dark existence…Prayers for everyone affected by this.

    15. God didnt do this. But it is normal to be angry at God and to question everything when something horrible happens. The evils of this world are getting stronger and they attack the ones who are strong in their faith first because those are the ones they are most threatening to them. There is Hope, if you believe what God has for us after this!

    16. God didn’t do it. Satan did. The comfort amidst the sin-filled life we live comes from God. The promise isn’t for a perfect life but a perfect forever. Every GOOD thing comes from the Lord. All the rest…not from Him. Death, not from Him. Comfort in dealing with death, yes. God IS love. Satan is not. God loves us and His heart is broken in our tragedies. But do not mistake this: the pain, death, meanness comes from the devil. The devil is responsible for this horrid thing. And revels in it. God is abhorred. God gives this family comfort to rise above and honor Him in spite of the devil’s attack on their lives. GOD IS LOVE. End of story.

    17. As Christians, our hope is in Jesus Christ , who is God . Through his sacrifice we gain eternal life and much more than this world has to offer. Including family , home , our country or anything else. Our home is not here. Our home is eternal. The kingdom of God will last forever. 80 years here , plus or minus is nothing , literally nothing compared to the hope we hold on to. As the Word says…. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness , and ALL these things will be added to you. When we put our faith on Christ , death is nothing more than a doorway to eternal paradise where we will live without pain or sorrow. My friend , hold on to this faith, that Jesus is the Son of God and he has taken on the punishment you and I deserve . Death. …So, now , death is no longer a curse , but instead , no different than opening the door to your home and walking through ….. To paradise

    18. God didn’t do this. A person made a decision. That’s what did this. God promotes life – not death. God can’t control what humans choose to do. We are in a broken, fallen world. Bad things are going to happen. We just need to trust in God.

    19. Jesus didn’t pull that trigger. Jesus didn’t do any of that. Why on earth would you blame Him??? Jesus gave Hope to this family. The gunmen took away the life not Jesus. They tried to take away the hope and love of this family. Put the blame where it belongs.

  6. Rest In Peace Amanda. Davy and your little boy, family, and friends, my sincere condolences. God is watching over all. God Bless.

  7. Our son in law was shot to death on July 4th 2011. He was 23. Our daughter, 22. She found out two weeks after he died that she was pregnant with their first child. We were afraid to be happy. But God turned the sorrow of our son-in-law’s death into joy over the birth of that baby boy, who is now 3. Christ redeemed that situation. I pray he will redeem this horror for Amanda and Davey’s family as well. You are in my prayers. There IS hope in Jesus!

  8. It is incredibly hard to think of a young person making that step from ‘here’ to THERE. Difficult enough to say our earthly good byes to aged parents or grandparents but someone so young…and a baby, it’s incomprehensible for us. But GOD knows, yes God knows. He has embraced them with joy and celebration. He has said ‘well done, my good and faithful servant.’ Imagine that, imagine that. Thank you Lord Jesus for Amanda’s life, and for the life of her unborn child…I never met her but I know she is safe and happy with you.

  9. Why the qualifier what the media won’t share?
    You are implying they don’t want Christians to know because they don’t like Christians.
    Don’t diminish the story by stoking distrust in the media.

  10. Beautifully and graciously delivered. I pray that I too am building the generational faith that you describe. I pray that this ingrained faith response will be a witness to the awe inspiring power of God.

    1. I Think That We All KNowThat Jesus Must Have Something Great in Mind For This Sweet Innocent Baby.I Beleive That Jesus Knows ThatHe Has Great and Wonderful Things, Ahead folr This Baby.!! NEVER FORGET That “GOD” Is Love, And I Believe He Will Do Nothing But “GOOD” Things To Get This Family Through Their Sorrows!!! “Thank You My One And Only Loving God.!!!

  11. ONE MOMENT AT A TIME

    The life we live here on this earth
    Is ours by God’s design;
    The days, the months, the years go by
    One moment at a time.

    The blessings God bestows on us
    Are more than we can measure;
    The people He puts in our lives
    Become a life-long treasure.

    But there are times misfortune strikes
    And hope seems very dim;
    We’re stunned and pained with disbelief,
    And through our tears cry out to Him.

    Our faith is tested through and through,
    With agony so hard to bear
    Then Jesus takes us in His arms
    And carries us through our dark despair.

    The Way, the Truth, the Life is He
    Who promised we’d never be alone;
    And then one day at Heaven’s gate,
    Our loved ones will be there to welcome us Home.

    So I give thanks to God above
    For guiding this earthly life of mine;
    And giving me strength to hold on to my faith,
    One moment at a time.

    © Patricia B. McIntyre

  12. Our church prayed from the moment we heard the news on Monday. We continue to pray still. There is hope in Jesus. In him alone. What a message to a word swallowed in sorrow & loss that your family is teaching us through your sorrow, even now. You are not alone. Amanda & the unborn baby are with Jesus. One day you will all be reunited. What a day of rejoicing that will be…when we all see Jesus every tear we’ve cried will be wiped away.

  13. I firmly belief that God is going to use this tragedy to bring so many people to Him. Those who haven’t given their hearts to the Lord will hear this story and hear of this family’s incredible strength and hope and want to know how they were able to get through such an unimaginable situation. They will see that they didn’t turn from Him when something so horrible fell upon their family but that they leaned in and got closer to Him. I pray they are able to reach countless hurting people who doubt God and bring them closer to Jesus. I’ll be praying for this family.

  14. My heart is heavy every since I heard of this horrible crime. I know that she is in the arms of our sweet Jesus and in no pain. We praise his Holy name. Life on this earth has become a place that I no longer want to be a part of. Jesus come quickly. I pray for family and friends, that they feel the Lords peace and love. God bless everyone.

  15. I am so sorry for the sad loss. We cannot begin to understand the situation or why… I can say that God will be with this precious family. He promises that. May the Holy Spirit comfort and strengthen them in sad and hard days to follow. Our prayers are with you all.

  16. Condolences from the depth of my heart to the families. Death is the enemy and should be grieved. Please remember while praying for this family that Satin is the father of lies that perpetrated the idea in the broken person who did this. Pray fervently that Satin’s leis will be seen for what they are and that Jesus Christ will be accepted as Lord.

  17. I met Davey and Amanda at Camp Ignite in Denton Maryland and instantly felt like we were great friends. Going forward, Davey came to different events in Delaware where we got to talk, and he always had a positive message and a word of encouragement. Davey we will be praying for you and your family through this rough time but you know that God has a purpose for everything. We love you brother and can’t wait to see what God has in store for you in the future.

  18. Our heartfelt condolences and love go out to the Blackburn & Byars families. There aren’t expressions that will explain such a senselessness in loss of life or pain of such a tragedy. However, our belief and shared Christian journey helps us answer some of the puzzling acts of heartlessness taking place in this earthly the realm. “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Galatians 2:21. Amen

  19. Welcome home,good and faithful servant, enjoy the homecoming celebration Amanda.
    Heaven is awesome. May the peace of God continue to rest within the family, until you meet again in heaven.

  20. Sorry for your loss. I know this grief path. I know how God has put together a body to walk with you and already has prepared a way through. Trust Him, look for His light to guid you through the dark. It’s doesn’t feel good this path but is doable and Jesus will be there.

  21. I am praying for peace in your heart!! I have known grief as a gut wrenching ache in the stomach as in 22 months apart I lost 2 teen-agers, 19 and 17 a boy and girl. Then I lost a 11 yr old Granddaughter. Today I realize I am only on my feet as my God has carried me thru the storms. Anger at God, I sure was and in time I reached out to others who suffered the loss of a child and I began to heal. As a man of the cloth you will do the same and you too will heal. It is a horrible loss you are suffering and I pray for you and your child and extended family. May God hold you and your son in his ever loving arms. I will continue to pray for you and yours . Your heart will always have the memories.
    In Peace and Love

  22. I watched the many streaming photos and the entire service. We prayed for you all in our Sunday School class this a.m. I pray for you, Davey. God is being glorified through what Satan brought about. Many may come to Christ through this. God will sustain you and your child and will provide. elcrandall13@yahoo.com Retired Wesleyan Pastor, CNY

  23. I wish that every now and then the lesson was for the bad guys instead of a “lesson in faith” for the good and holy. Wish that the news could have been that the power of God slayed three degenerates who’s lives “didn’t matter” instead of an innocent woman and an unborn child died a brutal death, with much fear and suffering, at the hands of three men who will never matter. Evil seems to be winning in a landslide lately.

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