Prayers and messages of condolence have been streaming in for a minor league baseball player who lost his wife and young son in a brutal shooting yesterday.
Emily and Cullen Bivens, the wife and son of Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Blake Bivens, were shot dead at their Pittsylvania, Virginia home Tuesday. The prime suspect is Emily’s brother, Matthew Bernard, who was found running around Keeling, Virginia, naked just a few hours after the killings, in which he also killed his own mother.
In bizarre footage of his arrest, which was reported by 8 News in Richmond, VA, Bernard could be seen chasing an armed police officer around a church parking lot, before trying to strangle the church’s caretaker. Eventually, he was apprehended by a police K9 unit after running down the main road and being stopped by a roadblock.
Emily and Blake married in 2016, before having Cullen in 2018. On her Instagram, Emily described herself as, a “follower of Jesus” and someone who was “Amazed by His grace.” On Facebook, she battled fiercely for pro-life causes.
Alongside being mother to Cullen, Emily also wrote for Baseball Chapel — an organization that provides spiritual support to professional baseball players and their families.
In an article dated July 31 of this year, Emily talked candidly about how God guides us through the storms of life. Basing her post on the Luke 8 story of Jesus calming the storm, Bivens implored that God is with us all the time and declared that he has the power to help us through life’s inevitable difficulties.
“There are so many circumstances in our lives and the lives of people we have the privilege of knowing that looked bad at first, but were turned around for good,” she wrote. “I’m sure you can think of many in your own life as well. God is a Master at making things beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3).”
Emily went on to encourage anyone who was going through a rough time to keep seeking after the Lord. “Whatever you are going through, put your hand in the hand of the God Who can see over your mountains and past your storms because sometimes, on the other side of the storm, the beauty in His plan is even more evident than before,” she wrote.
Closing with a prayer, Bivens decalred that God’s “peace is stronger than any fear,” and His “power can break every chain that holds us back.”
While Blake has yet to issue a statement on this horrific loss, messages of support, condolences, and prayer have been pouring in to the GoFundMe page set up in his name.
“My heart aches for Blake” one person wrote. “Endless prayers to the Bivens family.”
A description of the page reads as follows:
“We are devastated by the loss of our friend and fellow baseball wife, Emily had an incredible heart for the Lord and shared His light to many through her writings in Baseball Chapel. She deeply loved this community of baseball women and was a comforting, kind soul to all who knew her. Our hearts are with her husband Blake and her family during this unimaginable time.”
So far, over $20,000 has been raised.
Please join us in praying for Blake and his wider family at this devastating time.