CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — The daughter of a 113-year-old woman who is the oldest living person in the United States says that her mother believes she is still alive because it is God’s will.
Lessie Brown of Ohio became the oldest living person in America after Delphine Gibson, 114, of Pennsylvania passed away earlier this month.
“Her love of everyone and her belief in God—she just loves everyone—and I believe that has a lot to do with her longevity,” her daughter Vivian Hatcher, 90, told Cleveland.com.
“She believed that the Lord meant for her to be here to see about us,” daughter Verline Wilson, 88, said. “She did tell me that once. She said, ‘I’m supposed to be here for a while to see about you.'”
“It’s her belief in God, and He’s allowed this and I’m thankful for that,” she also told Fox 8 Cleveland.
Brown, who is one of 12 children, had five children of her own, three of whom are still living. She has over 50 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
She attended Emmanuel Baptist Church in Cleveland for over 70 years, and went to services past the age of 100. Brown is currently housebound and spends much of her time sleeping.
Some family members note that she ate a yam every day until she was 110, and believe that might have also contributed to her longevity.
Cleveland.com reports that when Brown was informed by her family that she is now the oldest living person in America, she simply replied, “That’s good.”
Delphine Gibson, who preceded Brown as the oldest American, similarly had a strong faith in Christ.
“I asked her what her secret was. She said it’s her love of Jesus and her strength in her faith, and I believe it,” Melanie McAleer, a recreational therapist at Huntingdon Hills, told reporters in 2016 when Gibson celebrated her birthday with her church family from Mt. Hope Missionary Baptist Church.
Gibson’s friend from church, Joanetta Green, said that Gibson was always singing.
“She sings all the time in the home. She just sings ‘Oh how she loves Jesus’ and she always has good things to say,” she recalled.
Job 14:5 says that man’s days are appointed by God.
“Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with Thee; Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass,” it reads.
Psalm 139:16 also says the Lord knows the number of man’s days even before they are born.
“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance, and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them,” it states.
Genesis 6 further outlines that man’s days will not exceed 120 years, and Psalm 90 explains, “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty…”