From Hebrews 12:2: "...Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross..."
What was that joy?
After all, isn't the world a pretty miserable place? Hasn't human history been filled with war, disease, oppression, and dishonesty---even among those who claim to be "religious" or "spiritual"?
Even when we find happiness and contentment within our circles of family, friendship, church, or work, we cannot remain isolated from the wider world.
In spite of the pain that has lined human history, God has always lived in the hearts and minds of those who follow him in love.
Although we cannot see the full picture of the souls committed to love and serve God, these souls are visible and known to him.
These souls bring him joy!
In the midst of sadness and injustice of every kind, there are those who continue to trust in the love of God. Some are alone in their faith. Others worship in a church or other gathering.
Some are ill. Some are healthy and fit. Some are wise and intellectually powerful. Others struggle to function at a basic level.
Some are wealthy. Others make ends meet with much effort. Some will travel across continents several times each year. Others will never leave the town or village where they were born.
The "joy set before him" was the certainty that so many lost souls from so many corners of humanity would come into fellowship with the God who loves them. No matter how or where or when those souls entered the world, they would be able to spend their lives and all eternity loving the God who loves them from forever to forever.
For this, he endured the cross.