During the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese captors would use various tactics to try to break the spirit of American POWs. One approach was to make every effort to convince prisoners that no one at home cared about them anymore, that everyone at home thought they were dead, that no one back in America was even thinking about them. It’s a powerful tactic. After all, if you really begin to believe that others are no longer thinking about where you are and what you’re going through, then despair is not far off.
The devil (a fallen angel and enemy of God) and his worldly comrades use the same tactic. If he can get you to think of Jesus as the founder of a religion rather than your personal Savior, if he can get you to view Jesus as the main character of the Bible instead of the best friend you’ve got, if he can get you to think that Jesus as just a great teacher, instead of a Savior with power to help you, if he can get you to think that your sinful choices are to great for Christ’s blood to atone for, then it won’t take long for you to assume that all that talk about Jesus caring for you is just a bunch of spiritual drivel. And when that happens, despair is right outside your door.
Do you know what was on Jesus’ mind just before his horrific crucifixion and death? Within earshot of his own disciples, Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father on their behalf. As he prayed, however, Jesus revealed that he was also thinking about you. He prayed, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” (John 17:20)
You were on his mind then and you are on his mind now. Even when Jesus had every reason to think only about himself, his suffering, his pain, his redeeming work, his thoughts come back to you, me and everyone else he was dying for. His thoughts came back to how he would bring you to faith through the Word of God brought to you by other disciples. On his mind were the times you would need his power to carry you through the difficulties you would face. His thoughts came back to when he would one day welcome you home to heaven.
And nothing has changed since Jesus prayed that prayer. No matter what challenge, trouble, hardship, pain or loss life brings you, Christians are never alone. No matter how loud the devil and his comrades try to tell us, “God is dead and Jesus doesn’t care,” your Savior always has you on his mind. The next time you feel alone, remember he still prays for you. Then take Jesus up on his invitation, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)