It is our part to do the taking. It is His to do the giving. Oh, yes, we do the asking, all right, but we do not take. Mark 11:24: “When ye pray, believe that ye receive.” He has given, and He is simply waiting for you to take, and you can take, for He has given you the power to do so. We sing a little hymn: “I can and I will and I do believe.” I can because God gives me the power to do so. He would never command a child of His to do that which he does not have the power to do, so I can believe if I will do so. I will, therefore, because God expects me to exercise my will in believing His Word: I do, because now is God’s accepted time, and because I pray for the thing now, I believe that I receive it now, just as the scripture says: “Whatsoever things ye desire when you pray, believe that ye receive, and ye shall have them.”
There is, therefore, a given time when I must cease to pray and begin to believe, and that time is “when I pray.” When I ask, I must believe then, not some future time. Belief in some future time is hope, and not faith, and as someone has so wisely said, “Faith is not hope.” Hope puts a thing far in the future, looking forward to some distant time when, if God sees fit, he may give the answer; faith puts the thing in the past, and counts it done. It is done simply because God says so. As He has said, “Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.” Hope looks over the fence into tomorrow, while faith leaves the matter over the fence of yesterday as a finished work, and will forever look back to that spot saying, “It was there I closed the contract with the Lord. I took Him at His Word, and counted the thing done, and it is done, because He said so.” 1 John 5:14–15: “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”
It does not say going to have, but it says we have. We have it now, but, you say, “I cannot see it, I cannot handle it, so I do not really know that I have received.” But we do know, because God said so, and His Word is enough. We believe we have, not because any of the senses testified to it, but because of God’s testimony. “Let every man be found a liar, but God be found true.” It is so, simply because God said so. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. But that which waits to see before it believes is not faith. It is not what we think about it, it is what God says about it, that counts. It is not what we feel, it is what faith claims. It is not what we see, for “The just shall walk by faith.” By a decisive act of faith I do receive.