Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn, New York, is 116 years old and currently the world’s oldest person. What are her secrets to longevity?
She credits good sleeping habits and abstinence from tobacco and alcohol. But a sign hanging in her kitchen is also a clue: “Bacon makes everything better.” She eats scrambled eggs with bacon for breakfast, every morning. According to her niece, “she’ll eat bacon all day long.”
Just so we’re clear, scientists says that bacon is not our best diet. In fact, one Harvard study found that daily consumption of bacon was associated with a twenty percent increase in the risk of dying. But don’t tell that to Susannah.
Keeping a python as a pet may not be a good idea, either. Terry Wilkins keeps a 20-foot, 125-pound python in his Kentucky pet store. When he stepped into the animal’s enclosure to feed it, the python bit him and then began coiling itself around his head, neck, and torso. Police say that when they arrived, Wilkins was not breathing. They pried the snake off him, saving his life.
Life is just as fragile now as it was when Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas on this day in 1492. In the centuries since, our technological, political, and economic circumstances have obviously changed dramatically. But we still need air, water, food, shelter, and security. We can still be killed by pythons and other predators, by tornadoes and other disasters, by cancer and other diseases.
Pentagon officials believe that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal holds missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland. However, Admiral Bill Gortney says, “I’m pretty confident that we’re going to knock down the numbers that are going to be shot.” I wish he hadn’t said “pretty” confident.
Israel has announced the discovery of massive oil reserves sufficient to supply the country’s oil needs for centuries. However, they’re in the Golan Heights, disputed territory on the border with Syria and close to Islamic State conflict.
No place on this fallen planet is completely safe. No person is guaranteed another day of life. Christians are as subject to brutality as anyone else, as massacres of believers by Islamic State terrorists have shown. We cannot assure non-Christians that following Jesus will provide prosperity for the future.
What we can offer is peace in the present.
John Wesley encountered Moravian missionaries on board a ship bound for America. He notes in his journal that one day, the group had just begun to sing a psalm of worship when “the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans [Moravians] calmly sung on.
“I asked one of them afterwards, ‘Was you not afraid?’ He answered, ‘I thank God, no.’ I asked, ‘But were not your women and children afraid?’ He replied, mildly, ‘No; our women and children are not afraid to die.'” Wesley called this “the most glorious day which I have hitherto seen.” He later testified that the Moravians’ peace contributed directly to his conversion.
Who will see the peace of Christ in you today?
On Susannah Mushatt Jones’s wall is posted Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
Of whom, indeed?