A friend just called to tell me that a prayer request we thought God denied had come through. Not only that, but from the perspective of a year we can now see more clearly how God was orchestrating everything for her good.
Here's what happened. While my friend was going through deep personal trauma a seemingly small set of unrelated circumstances in her neighborhood blew up and piled stress on top of already fragile emotions. She began to pray for resolution and help but things got increasingly worse. She prayed for a good outcome and favor but the opposite happened. Finally she had to wash her hands of the whole thing because nothing she tried worked.
A few days ago she was walking down her street and began a conversation with a woman a few doors away that she had never spoken to before. She came to discover that this other woman had taken over where she left off. The whole thing has been turned around and the outcome is much better than any she originally envisioned. So, prayers answered after all.
The topper is that she now realizes that God used the neighborhood events to divert her attention from her own emotional upheaval. At the time she wondered "how much more stress can I handle?" but the reality is that some of the negative emotions got siphoned off just so she COULD handle it.
Don't we often question God when several things go wrong at the same time? What is he doing to us we think indignantly! What he is doing is working all things - big and small - for our good. He may even be answering prayer to boot!