"Here is a little story about a simple answer to prayer. Lars was away. I had to take the car to the repairman’s house. Li Zeng, our live-in student, followed me in his car to bring me home. Directions to the house had been ambiguous, and Gloucester, Massachusetts gets the prize for town-easiest-to-get-lost-in. I prayed that I might not get lost—Li had to get to class, the repairman had to leave at 7:15. I got lost, made a quick turn without checking to see that Li was still with me. He wasn’t. “Lord, Li will be late for class, the man will leave in a few minutes—what shall I do?” It’s a long story, but after a phone call I found the house, left the car, declined the man’s kind offer to take me home because I wanted to find Li so he would not miss his class. How was I to find him? “Lord, help me.” I stood at an intersection and prayed that he would come along—an absurd request in a place like Gloucester. He’d been on a one-way street which would take him far out around the shore drive, with no reason to happen upon the intersection where I stood. Within five minutes there he was! God teaches us to ask so that He may answer our prayers. This reminds us of the source of our blessings. The answer to my prayer not to get lost was No—in order that I might be specially blessed in the way I was found.
Remember how the Lord brought Israel out (of Egypt) in order to bring them in (to Canaan)? He got me lost that He might get me found! Let’s never forget that some of His greatest mercies are His refusals. He says no in order that he may, in some way we cannot imagine, say yes. All His ways with us are merciful. His meaning is always love."
~Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart