“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4 ESV)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Matthew Trees

by Macy Johnson
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.
For I tell you that their angels in heaven
always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
(Matthew 18:10 NIV)

Sunday afternoon, February 2, 1997, while preparing a Bible lesson, my sister called from Pensacola with horrific news. Matthew, our fifteen-year-old nephew, was killed in a skateboard accident.

I hung up the phone, staggered out the front door of our Birmingham home, and found my husband and our twelve-year-old son planting two dogwood trees. We hugged and grieved over our family’s tragic loss.

Later that afternoon, our neighbor heard the news, looked out her front window at the newly-planted dogwoods and said, “Those are the Matthew Trees”.

The dogwood tree’s blossom resembles Christ’s cross, a stunning reminder of His death and resurrection. The year I was born my family built a new house on West Blount Street in Pensacola. My father carefully planted dogwood trees in our front yard between the sidewalk and the street. As a little girl, I regularly climbed in those trees and imagined myself to be on neighborhood watch. 

My husband and I moved from Alabama ten years ago. One of the “Matthew Trees” did not survive its first year, but the other stood like a sentry in front of the living room window. When we visit our son in Birmingham we drive by our former home and think of Matthew.

I was recently reminded, while viewing a post-abortion-recovery video, that children who have left us through abortion, miscarriage or other untimely death are never really gone. They may no longer be here with us on earth, but I believe they have a purpose in heaven, in training with Jesus.

I will remember and be thankful for all of His children today, here and in heaven. I hope you will, too!


  1. I will never forget that dark and sad day but God will always be victorious over death! Great message!!

    1. Thanks! May we always remember God's goodness and have hope!