Isaac James Kolakowski
Isaac James Kolakowski
  • May 15, 2017 - May 31, 2017
  • Orlando, Florida

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Isaac James spent all sixteen days of his fervent life in Pod 2 of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, FL. Born three months early, he was about 12 inches long, and weighed just over a pound. Each day he endured uncomfortable tubes and wires and shots and monitors and alarms and gloved hands moving him around. He was born with a small hole in his intestines, which still needed time to develop. We did not know this at the time, but he was getting more sick each day.

While all the medical statistics were stacked heavily against even his survival of the delivery, Isaac became known in the NICU as a feisty boy -- a fighter. He kicked his legs, he raised his arms to the sky, and squeezed our fingers every day like he wanted to wrestle. He opened his eyes early to look around, and his lungs became strong and stable, without much complication. His brain, too, was miraculously free of the typical ruptures at his age.

Our boy was a true delight. He was adored by his nurses and coached with deep compassion by his doctors who gave him everything he needed to fight the good fight. His proud parents and grandparents got to see him and touch him. We all spoke words of love and prayed and sang songs over him.

We did not see him as a burden but a gift. Not a tragedy but a miracle. Not a shame but a triumph. Because everyone adored Isaac for his stature and his story. And their adoration turned to genuine, wholehearted love. And then that Love, we believe, turned us all to awe and worship and trust in the God who knit our boy, and gave him to us just as he was.

After two challenging weeks of fighting, and a seemingly successful surgery to repair his very sick intestine, Isaac just had to rest. And as he rested, it was clear that the doctors and nurses could not revive him to fight any further. He was still sick, and there were no more medicines, no more procedures to keep him with us.

We held our boy for hours before he passed. We worshiped God with him in our arms. We sang and prayed and declared our unwavering love for him on the NICU floor. And we gave him all the dignity he deserved, despite his weakness, his pain, and his sick body.

Because God asked us to love and care for a boy who was sick from birth, and had his days numbered. A boy who we were given the option to abandon -- to 'not intervene' at birth if we agreed the risks of handicaps was just too high. God asked us to fight with this boy for two weeks, though we all prayed and longed and dreamed for a lifetime with him.

And we know God asked us to do this, because this is what he does for us each day. It is the God of Isaac who sees us sick today, our days numbered, and has decided to love us, touch us, and hold us anyway. It is the God of Isaac who knows those infections which are hiding in our guts - our souls, killing us until we surrender to him as our good surgeon, despite the risks. And it is God who gives us every medicine within his reach to make us well; to heal us so we can be alive in His Kingdom coming -- the one that is here in our midst.