John 17:5 “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
In the end, will it have been worth it all to have followed Jesus? Like Moses, who chose “rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25), will the believers who do the same in this day and age be able to say, “It was worth it?” How can we know?
Paul himself warned that “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (I Corinthians 15:19). Will we, in the end, wish that we had chosen to “relax, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19), rather than to serve Christ, die to self, and endure the displeasure and even persecution from the world that has chosen to do otherwise.
The answer lies, perhaps in a measure better than anywhere else, in the prayer of Jesus above in John 17. Of all the people who ever lived, only Jesus knew what Heaven was like before He appeared on earth because that’s where He had been. He had been in the presence of the Father from all eternity prior to His incarnation. And He knew that it was worth it to die on the cross if that’s what it would take for Him to return to that place. He had resisted the temptation of Satan to choose another path, and thus have all the kingdoms of this earth, without heaven. And remember it was after he had gone 40 days without food in the desert that this temptation came to him (Matthew 4:1-11). He resisted this because he knew that the joy of Heaven, which was set before Him, was worth it all, even if he had to suffer indescribable pain to get there (Hebrews 12:2).
In the end, we can be sure that following Jesus in this life will have been worth it all. In the end, we will experience the promise of the Father, that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Corinthians 2:9).
Will it be worth it all? Yes, it will be, and worth it in ways that we can’t even imagine, for our only comparison is a sin-cursed world, a world that will be burned up, in the end.