I read an article yesterday in the New York Times about a man who is 107 who works full-time, 40 hours a week, cutting hair. He is the world’s oldest barber.
Out of curiosity, I explored a little further and learned that the oldest living persons on the planet right now are 116 years old, born in 1903. Two are from Japan; one is from Italy. All three are women, which is striking to me since the oldest ones in the Bible were men: Methuselah, Jared, Noah, Adam.
Some people just keep living–long before they die. Take my family, for instance:
- My great grandmother lived to be 99. She had all her own teeth at age 88 and died three weeks shy of becoming a centenarian.
- My maternal grandparents lived to be 94 and 95.
- My paternal aunt is almost 89. She got a new boyfriend back when she was 80.
Have you ever paused to wonder if you are going to become a centenarian or a supercentenarian (older than 110)? If you are in your 70’s you seriously might have thirty years to go. If you are in your 50’s, your journey on this earth might only be half-completed.
Granted, these days it is relatively rare to survive for a full century, but recent history shows that over a decade ago in 2008, Hallmark sold 80,000 birthday cards for people celebrating their 100th, and that counts only for America.
Robotics, along with meds, could extend human life to age 200. Check out the Methuselah Foundation that intends to make 90 “the new 50” by 2030.
Imagine people having great grandchildren (at age 67), and great-great (at age 93), and great-great-great (at age 120), and great-great-great-great (at age 147), and great-great-great-great-great (at age 173) and great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren (at age 200).
Someone should invent new vocabulary for all this “greatness” before it happens.
But will it happen?
In Genesis 6–before Noah’s ark and the flood– the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with humankind forever, because he is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty.”
Ponder this: Before the flood, God said the new normal lifespan would be 120 years. Yet Noah, due to God’s grace, lived to be 950.
Now consider what was written generations later in Psalm 90:
For all our days have declined in Thy fury; we have finished our years like a sigh. As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow. For soon it is gone, and we fly away. Who understands Thy fury, according to the fear that is due Thee? So teach us to number our days that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.
Human lifespans have regressed from Adam’s 930 years to pre-flood 120 years to the Psalms’-estimated 70 or 80 years down to Jesus’ mere 33 years. Unborn human lives of all the persons who are aborted have tragic life expectancies of four or five weeks in the womb.
No wonder the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Yet God — in all His fury — is greater than sin and death.
God found a way to conquer sin and death by becoming flesh miraculously (John 1:14) and becoming sin miraculously (II Corinthians 5:21), and dying on the cross “for sins once for all, the Just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (I Peter 3:18) by the power of His Resurrection and Ascension (Ephesians 1:18-21: II Timothy 3:16).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God — Who is God (John 1:1)–died for us. In Romans 5, we hear the good news:
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Don’t worry as you age because God will create again! In Isaiah 65, God says this:
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth . . . no longer will there be an infant who lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out his or her days . . . For as the lifetime of a tree, so shall be the days of My people.
God assures us that although the wicked sprout up quickly, they will wither like grass (Psalm 37:1-2). But those who give themselves to Christ shall be clothed in Jesus’ righteousness (Romans 3:22; II Corinthians 5:21; I John 1:9).
As for those of us who reach old age and maybe even live to be a 100 or 200, if we put on Christ and live for God, then it is ours to believe with splendid confidence the promises in Psalm 92:
The righteous person will flourish like the palm tree. That person will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age. They shall be full of sap and very green to declare that the Lord is upright.