The view from atop Oahu’s famed Diamond Head (in the background of this small wedding) requires a fairly strenuous climb up a steep trail nearly a mile long, but it’s worth every step. Guidebooks encourage climbers to be prepared: use sunscreen, take water, wear sturdy shoes instead of flip flops.
Many climbers also plan ahead by taking the prudent precaution of wearing a hat as further protection against the tropical sun. There’s evidence of a need to take planning one step further, though — as climbers reach the top of a long spiral staircase and squeeze through the window of an old bunker to step into open air, they’re often met by a stiff wind that takes unguarded hats for itself.
The photo above was taken at an overlook there, leaning against a fence that protects against a sharp drop. Look straight down, and one sees evidence of the wind’s work: hats of every description hung up on the cliffside, so close and yet so far away.
My old faithful floppy hat is ugly as sin, but it has the virtue of a drawstring that keeps it on my head, even in the wind. I can’t take much credit for planning ahead — I hadn’t tightened the drawstring until Samuel reached over and did it for me — but I do still have the hat.
Sometimes planning ahead means planning for the head, and two steps ahead. Jesus knew about that, encouraging his followers to plan ahead (by building their houses on rock instead of sand, for example), and to be prepared.
I doubt hats will be needed for admission to the pearly gates, but the Bible suggests that other preparation is required.
Keep your hat on.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.