Big Hope Not Small Hope

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (Romans 8:24-25, NASB1995).

Funny thing about hope – as soon as you get what you hoped for – it isn’t hope anymore.

And… often when we get what we hoped for, it’s not what we really hoped for.

And… what is life without hope?

Confusing! I know.

The Greek word “elpis” or “hope” is found in the New Testament about 53 times as a noun and about 31 times as a verb. A significant word in the Bible and in our lives.

Mostly “hope” in the New Testament is used for “big” hope. When we use the word “hope” in our personal lives, it is mostly for “small” hope. 

Now, even more confusing – I hope that I can make sense of this.

Big hope is eternity. In hundreds of memorial services over 50 years, I read Romans 5:5:

Hope does not disappoint!

I also used this verse:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Big hope is heaven. 

Our hope in Jesus for peace in heaven will not disappoint, and because of that hope, we do not have to grieve as those with no hope. We spend eternity with those passed in faith before us.

We will see our mother, spouse, sister, and friends again – my wife even hopes to see all her cats.

That’s big hope. Biblical hope has a huge guarantee attached to it:  signed and sealed by the resurrection.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:14).

But this hope isn’t seen. In fact, when we see Jesus coming for us in the clouds, our hope will be consumed by eternity. Hope ends with our final destination. 

We will not be disappointed. It is worth living our lives in anticipation.

Disappointment is the difference between “big” hope and “small” hope.

How many times have we been disappointed by a hope fulfilled in our lives? Small hopes do not have a guarantee.

We hope for a great vacation on the beach and then Hurricane Humonga arrives. We save for a new car and then return it under the Lemon Law. Even relationships:  a first date, a marriage, a family reunion, a weekend retreat with co-workers – didn’t work out as hoped.

On earth, our small hopes, even fulfilled, are often a big disappointment!

God doesn’t play games by dangling small hopes before us and then dashing them to pieces. When our small hopes dismantle on earth, it is only because the small hope realized on earth would hinder our big hope fulfilled in heaven.

God’s goal is to spend eternity with us.

This big hope is worth the wait. No one will be confused, as we will see Jesus and all tears will be wiped away.