And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Scriptures like these need no corollary comments, but the more I reflect on this euphoric scene, the more significant that little word obtain seems. It strikes me that Heaven, pictured here by this ransomed host singing triumphantly as they rise above the sufferings of earthly life, isn’t like the gift a child receives on Christmas morning; it’s more like the gift a pilgrim obtains at the end of a long trek. Paul writes in Philippians 3:13b-14, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” so the journey of faith is always an up-hill climb—up to Sinai, up to Golgotha, up to Jerusalem, up to Zion—always against the gravitational pull of fallen earth, yet always moving toward deeper grace and greater gladness.
So Christian, today, don’t embrace the next leg of your faith-journey with a sit-back-and-relax-attitude. Embrace it with a rise-up-and-obtain attitude. And take the next step.