The phrase "the perfect storm" crept into the American vocabulary after the publication in 1997 of a non-fiction book by that title. The word "perfect," in this idiom, connotes a spectacularly negative, not positive, thing-a rare confluence of factors, every one of which perversely contributes to the worst possible outcome.
That is not at all what I mean when I refer to my daughter's Sunday evening car accident as a "perfect accident." I really mean perfect, in the original positive sense. The chaplain told me that the EMT guy on the scene told him that by the looks of the car, which resembled crumpled Reynolds Wrap, the accident had the potential for a lot worse outcome. That got me to thinking of how merciful the Lord had been.
Consider: The windshield is soundly smashed-but my daughter's head isn't (she got away with a headache). I could have woken up the next morning to peer into an empty bedroom across the hallway, never again to be redolent with my beautiful daughter's scent and songs-but this morning she was getting dressed to the sound of her music, as always.
The one-second distraction will cost a fortune (the bill for an $830 ambulance ride came in yesterday)-but that's a bargain for inoculating my teenager early on from future carelessness behind the wheel. As for financial bloodletting, once again I am jolted out of trusting in filthy lucre and into trusting God.
In every way, the Lord displayed His gentleness in administering discipline, employing a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer. The Word says:
"He caused them to be pitied by all those who held them captive" (Psalm 106:46).
That verse reminds me that even in chastisement, God shows mercy. He gives the Israelites a good whooping for rebelliousness by allowing them to be conquered by the enemy-and then he puts it in the heart of their captors to show them benevolence.
The Lord got my attention and my daughter's. Some areas of pride went out the window instantly. It's all good. It was a perfect accident.