James 1:5 says "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."
I have had two profound occasions in the past several weeks where I have been presented with decisions, and prayed this prayer. Each time I have not received an answer. Moreover, once in the past, over a very profound and life-altering decision, I prayed that prayer over the course of several weeks. To this day, I do not think I made a wise decision.
Here are the two decisions I was faced with.
One of our children presents us with especially difficult parental decisions. I don't want you to misunderstand -- he is not an inordinately unruly child, he simply requires special handling. I find myself praying this prayer often over how to respond to the challenges we face in dealing with him. The decision is not simple because, if I made it the way I think his choices warrant, it would have a profound and sad effect on another group of people (namely a sports team which has an inadequate number of players and cannot sustain losing one). I don't so much want advice on the decision --there are a ton of factors I have not presented here.
I am just curious, though, how to make sense of the promise in James 1:5.
Then, yesterday, as a presbytery, we were presented with a momentous decision which has the most profound implications in the life of one of our members. We were not presented with this decision or the facts leading up to it until we walked in the door of the meeting, and we were expected to decide this individual's fate within the course of a few hours. Again, throughout the meeting, I prayed this prayer. I received no response. I didn't expect writing on the wall of the sanctuary, but merely to be swayed by arguments one way or another. Receiving no response I abstained from voting. I probably abstain more than any other presbyter, for this reason.
I know the "Job's friends" answer would be "Well, you must not have fulfilled the conditions of James 1:6." My response, "Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief!"
I am curious, though, for some help and thoughts on this matter. The promise seems definite, but my experience is that the wisdom is not always forthcoming in the time frame that demands a decision.