Looking at sprouts of gray hair and bemoaning other signs of aging are pretty typical. But none of us have anything on Gertrude Baines.
Baines celebrated her 115th birthday Monday in Los Angeles. She is believed to be the world’s oldest person. She has lived for the past decade at a convalescent home after working for years as a maid in Ohio University dormitories.
An African-American, her family history spans a mind-boggling spectrum. Her father is believed to be a freed slave. In November, local news coverage followed her when she voted for President Barack Obama.
On the USA Today Web site, she is pictured with her pastor Warren Smith; her doctor says that Baines owes “her longevity to the Lord” and her lifestyle. One of the first stories we published at Everyday Christian was about Edna Parker, a southern Indiana woman who died as the world’s oldest woman in November. In honoring her, her pastor spoke at length about her faith.
It strikes me that it would be nearly impossible to live to such an age without a sense of a greater purpose and enduring beliefs.
Some teach that the unnaturally advanced ages of Abraham, Moses and others Old Testament are metaphors that illustrate that a long life in the service of God points towards eternity. Baines and Parker are two modern examples of that connection between faith and a long life.