“I Must Tell Jesus!“
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“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
On Tuesday mornings we travel through Lebanon County which is the county directly north of us. It is more rural than Lancaster County and we pass a lot of beautiful farm land. Lebanon is the county seat and main city. Like many places in this part of Pennsylvania it has a Bible-based name. In fact the name of the high school sports teams are the “Cedars”. See Psalm 104:16
But up until last week we were not aware that a beloved hymn has its origins in Lebanon County. As we often do while traveling a distance Brooksyne reads aloud from a devotional book. Last Tuesday, as we were driving through Lebanon County, she read a story from Robert Morgan’s book “On This Day” about Elisha Hoffman who was born in 1839 in a little town called Orwigsburg, PA (which most of you have never heard of). However from 1821-24 it was the scene of what church historian Ammon Stapleton calls “the greatest local revival the Evangelical Church has ever known.” (However, apart from this quote, I was unable to find any details!)
When Hoffman was not working in his study, he could often be found chatting with poor people in the homes “across the tracks”. In fact, we pass over these same tracks each week. One day, in 1894, he visited the home of a parishioner in the hills near Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Sorrow and affliction were frequent visitors there. He found a woman in the depths of mental anguish.
He counseled with her and quoted verses from the Bible, which he thought would console her. However, she seemed to be unable to rise above her distress. He then suggested that she could do nothing better than to take all of her sorrow to Jesus. “You must tell Jesus,” he told her. A light broke across her face and she cried, “Yes! I must tell Jesus.” And so she did. After a period of prayer, she rose from her knees with a brightness in her face.
Hoffman left immediately with the words, “I must tell Jesus”, ringing in his heart. As soon as he arrived at home, and while still under the influence of this experience, he wrote:
I cannot bear these burdens alone
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.
This song is a musical expression of Peter’s short command in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Perhaps Peter was alluding to Psalm 55:22 which states, “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
But when I read this text I also wonder if Peter, who was famously a fisherman prior to his call to become a disciple, might have had a fisherman allusion in mind when he wrote the verse. During his last recorded fishing trip, an event following the Resurrection, he had heard Jesus say, “‘Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.’ So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish” (John 21:6)
What a blessing that we can cast all our cares on the Lord with the assurance that He cares for us. Indeed, He ever loves and cares for His own!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I must tell Jesus all of my troubles, for He is a kind, compassionate Friend. If I but ask Him, He will deliver, make of my troubles quickly an end. During times of trouble and tribulation; during times of sorrow and care; when tempted or lonely Jesus is there for me so prompt me, Father, to take my troubles to Jesus rather than foolishly wring my hands in utter distress. Jesus alone is the One who can help me when I go to Him, by faith, in prayer. Amen.
“I Must Tell Jesus” Video RBC singers
“I Must Tell Jesus” Video Interesting version
“I Must Tell Jesus” Video Joni sings “I Must Tell Jesus” and introduces songwriters, famous for their hymns, who had disabilities.
“Leaning On The Everlasting Arms” Video Gaither Homecoming
“Leaning On The Everlasting Arms” Video Iris DeMent (Dedicated to my brother Mike Weber)
“Tell It To Jesus” Video Another old song that came to mind in the course of preparing today’s message.