"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." ~Hebrews 4:16
"Kyle needs your help. Please keep him in Your hands, Lord." This simple prayer, written by a class of 3rd graders, was the first to catch in my throat after I arrived at the prayer vigil. Prayers were written and posted on the walls of the school gym by every class at Immanuel Lutheran in our little city of Columbus, Nebraska. Kids and their parents, relatives and loved ones, friends and neighbors came out to pray at this 24-hour Youth-sponsored vigil on a snowy December weekend.
While the world busily decks the halls preparing for Christmas, Kyle Anderson and his family hold fast to the hope they have in the One whose birth we prepare to celebrate this Holy Season. Kyle was diagnosed in November with Osteosarcoma found in his femur (his thigh bone). As this amazing 12-year-old boy battles bone cancer, he does so with courage and a rock-solid trust in the Lord. Kyle's strong faith in Christ and the witness he shares in the midst of this ordeal, are already touching more lives than we will ever know. He shares with confidence that he knows one day he will go to heaven, no matter the outcome.
|Kyle and his dad, Kip, with the catch of the summer!|
Kyle’s attitude is nothing short of amazing! His parents admit that as they do everything they can for Kyle and attempt to remain strong for him, it is often he who keeps them going. Kyle reported positively, “They [doctors] let me push the start button on my IV pump, so I officially started my own chemo.” As he faced his first bout of treatment, Kyle was thinking of others, thanking those who were able to be there for his little sister, Katie, while he and his parents were in the hospital.
As prayers were lifted to the Lord throughout the vigil, Kyle rested at home, recovering from his first round of chemotherapy and a low-white-count infection that had followed. While people read and prayed, they also wrote Bible verses, prayers, and words of encouragement on paper-bag luminaries that lined all the bleachers by the time the vigil ended.
Kyle is a huge Nebraska Huskers fan and quite a humorist. Following his first treatment, as nausea hit, he admitted on his CaringBridge site that it could have been due to the chemo, but could also have been a reaction to the Huskers game performance (or lack thereof) that day! He loves to say that his Huskers "Can't be beat!" Since Kyle's battle began, his classmates and friends have proclaimed, "Kyle, YOU can't be beat!" The prayer vigil’s glowing luminaries revealed this message and so many others, like “Kyle 4 the Cure!” “We love you, Kyle!” “We’re praying for you.”
As I read the wall of prayers, I, too, lifted these words and others to our Savior:
"Give Kyle and his family the strength to overcome this ordeal." ~ 8th graders
"Lord, when he is nervous and scared, let him remember to turn to You. Even through his illness, You are allowing him to share his faith with others." ~5th graders
"Be with him to stay happy and positive. Help him to stay true to himself and keep cracking humorous jokes. Help him to keep believing and to stay strong in his faith and body." ~Fellow 7th graders
When God's people pray, amazing things happen: He strengthens our faith; He grows His kingdom; and yes, He hears and answers every prayer lifted up. As Hebrews 4 reminds us (see above), we can come to our Savior’s throne of grace with confidence that we will receive help in time of need. This is Kyle's time of need, and we pray boldly, trusting in God's perfect will, in His timing and wisdom.
I couldn't help but giggle through tears as I read another simple prayer, written and shared in faith, by a class of precious preschoolers:
"God, we thought of things he may need to get better like hugs and kisses, medicine, jelly beans, a soft bed, books, prune juice, a pillow pet, the Wii, dollies, music, a good doctor, a cold rag, and milk with cookies. We know You will give him all he needs because You love him so much." ~ Mrs. Nelson's Preschool Class
God, I know you love Kyle SO MUCH. And I pray that You will give him all he needs: continued faith, strength, and courage; peace, patience, and a positive outlook; and healing, according to Your will. “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:19 ~Amen
Prayers continue for Kyle. Churches are adding him to their prayer lists; families are spreading the word; classmates have shaved their heads as a sign of support and as a constant reminder to pray, too. Messages continue to pour in to Kyle’s CaringBridge site as people lift up Kyle to the Lord in faith.
Will you please join us in our Prayers for Kyle?