The Baby Who Inspired Laughter
Upon receiving devastating news from a doctor about their unborn child, Benjamin and Lilly Dulany nevertheless determined to trust God with the child’s life.
Lilly Dulany, 36, was in the first trimester of her pregnancy with the couple’s third child when the family’s physician told her and her husband Benjamin, 40, of health complications. The doctor warned that a best-case scenario would be delivering a baby with severe cerebral palsy. More likely, according to the doctor, the baby would be born with severe deformities, no brain, and unable to survive.
The couple sought a second medical opinion, where they received the same diagnosis. Both doctors urged the expectant parents they needed to terminate the pregnancy.
The Dulanys, who lived in Drain, Oregon, where Benjamin worked as a youth pastor, struggled with the news about the baby they already loved and wanted. Fear ran rampant, causing the couple to fight. One day while arguing, Benjamin says God silenced them when He put Daniel 3:17-18 in his mind: If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.
The passage stopped the couple from bickering, and gave them a new outlook about the situation.
“Even if our son lived only long enough for us to hold him, we would not bow to the spirit of abortion,” Benjamin says. “We decided we would be anchored in God.”
After spending time in prayer together, they reached out to faithful Christian friends. Within 20 minutes, messages poured in with prayer and support. Friends Adam and Kierra drove from the home in Portland more than two hours away to be with the couple and to pray over them and the baby in Lilly’s womb.
“Hearing what the first doctor had told them, having fertility issues of our own, and knowing the fear that comes with those situations, I felt God leading us on the trip,” says Adam, 38. “Our only thoughts were toward obedience to pray when the Holy Spirit asked us, and to hopefully bring peace, hope, and comfort with those prayers.”
Lilly says she repeatedly found comfort in the song, “No Longer Slaves,” which contains the verse, I am no longer a slave to fear, for I am a child of God.
The family stepped out of ministry and moved closer to family in the Salem, Oregon, area. They also found a doctor willing to deliver rather than abort the baby.
As soon as Lilly gave birth, the attending physician whisked the little boy away before his parents even got a look at him. From across the room, the Dulanys surprisingly heard the laughter of the doctor.
The doctor brought baby Isaac Dulany over to the parents and told them their baby was perfectly healthy. Not only did he have no deformities, but he also had no markers for cerebral palsy.
“I was just dumbfounded,” Benjamin says. “I was thankful it was all over.”
After a six-month journey of stress as they raised their older two children — Eliana, now 10, and Daniel, now 7 — the Dulanys could relax.
The couple named the boy Isaac, which means “he laughs” (Genesis 21:3).
“God tells us to pray, but so often we just think that praying is the last step, or not really making a difference, or that it means we are helpless to help,” Schweitz says. “Prayer is not a small thing to do, even when we are physically in a position to help in a practical way. Why would we not seek the aid of the Creator of all? It should be our go-to first step.”
Isaac is now 5 years old and in Benjamin’s words, “The most adventurous child I’ve ever seen.”
Last year, Dulany became lead pastor of Harrah Assembly of God in Washington state.