Slain Woman Denies Satan the Victory

Posted on November 19, 2015

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By David Ettinger

A Heinous Crime
blackburnsIn Indianapolis recently, Davey Blackburn, the young and dynamic pastor of Resonate Church, was at the gym. Sometime during his workout, an intruder entered his house where Blackburn’s pregnant wife Amanda, 28, and their 15-month-old son Weston, were enjoying a quiet morning. Moments later, the unthinkable happened: the intruder shot Amanda in the head, the gunshot wound proving fatal.

It was a great moment for Satan, the hater of all things good, pure, and godly. Amanda was all of these. Furthermore, Amanda was a remarkable ambassador for Christ. “That’s what she lived her life for, people coming to know Jesus,” Blackburn said during an interview with an Indianapolis TV station.

From Satan’s point of view, “people coming to know Jesus” is totally unacceptable. One day, Satan will be cast permanently into hell, or what the Bible refers as “the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14). Satan is not the ruler of this place; rather, as Jesus tells us, this “eternal fire” was “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). And because Satan hates God and will do anything to hijack His will that “everyone come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), Satan targeted Amanda. No, he couldn’t drag Amanda down to hell with him, he knew this; instead, he believed that by silencing her, many would miss the opportunity to hear the Gospel, and hence they would help him populate the environs of the lake of fire.

As it turns out – much to Satan’s consternation ­– Amanda has denied Satan this victory.

Rising From the Ashes
blackburns carPerhaps Satan was trying to send a message to those who were contemplating giving their lives to Christ, that message being: “You see what happened to this Christian? The same thing will happen to you if you follow her example by giving your allegiance to the so-called Savior.”

This didn’t quite work out. Blackburn, the grieving widower, attended that Sunday morning’s church service, as well as the evening funeral service, called “A Celebration of Life.” Yes, there would be tears, pondering, anger, confusion, and questioning of God, but above all else, there would be a rejoicing of this young woman who, as Blackburn said, “lived her life for Jesus and for other people.”

What occurred at the morning service was amazing. To help cope with his grief, Blackburn began texting his wife’s phone, a resourceful way to keep his relationship with her alive. The text following the Celebration Service went like this: “You would be so proud of our church today. Sixteen people gave their life to Jesus because of you.”

That’s not all. In the short time since the tragedy, Blackburn has received texts, emails, and phone calls not only of condolence, but communicating how impactful Amanda’s story has been to people. He closed the text with, “Countless people are coming to know the Lord because of you.” From the ashes of death, new Christian life has risen.

This isn’t at all what Satan had in mind.

Death Only the Beginning
cloudsDespite the tragedy, Blackburn has been encouraging, inspiring, and positive. How can this be? The answer lies in the Bible’s teaching on Christians and death: immediately upon passing, the soul goes to be with Jesus (Luke 23:43). The apostle Paul confirms this: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:21-23).

Notice how departing this world is the same as being “with Christ.” It is “better by far” than anything this life has to offer, and Blackburn knows perfectly well that his wife is in the far better place. “She’s in Heaven with Jesus and she sees this whole picture clearly, though we see it dimly,” he said. “There is no pain and everything for her is perfect.”

It is this perfect state of departed believers that leads Paul to write, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Yes, we mourn and grieve because we miss our loved ones, but we do not do so with hopelessness. We know that our loved ones are alive as never before, and hence our hopes soar.

Another Loss for Satan
exaltI read much about Christian martyrs, and one recurring truth is that whenever persecution rises and Christians are tortured and murdered, heathens come to Christ. Satan’s barbarous assaults upon Christians always lead to new Christian life. What Satan thinks is victory always ends in defeat.

If he thought Amanda Blackburn’s death was a victory, he was mistaken. Amanda’s life on this earth is over, but her impact continues. “I feel like Jesus is pointing out to her every single life and story that’s being touched by her life,” Blackburn said. “And I believe wholeheartedly that she is so full of joy because of that right now.”

And if Satan thinks he has dealt a blow to Pastor Blackburn’s hopes, he calculated wrongly on that count as well. “One day we [who love Amanda] will see her again; we have that hope of Jesus Christ living in us,” he said.

In death, Amanda brought glory to God, and this is the greatest victory of all!

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