Elisha A Hoffman? A name perhaps known, perhaps not-
The story goes, as is written in Robert Morgan’s ‘Then Sings My Soul’ that one day Hoffman was calling on the destitute in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and “he met a woman whose depression seemed beyond cure. She opened her heart and poured on him her pent-up sorrows. Wringing her hands, she cried, “What shall I do? Oh, what shall I do?” Hoffman knew what she should do, for he had himself learned the deeper lessons of God’s comfort. He said to the woman, “You cannot do better than to take all your sorrows to Jesus. You must tell Jesus.”
It is said that the woman then replied, “Yes! that’s it! I must tell Jesus.”
Thus, the birth of an old hymn. Elisha A Hoffman, a hymn writer wrote: “I must tell Jesus All of my trials, I cannot bear These burdens alone. In my distress He kindly will help me. He ever loves and cares for His own. I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear My burdens alone. I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.”
The song sings like a lullaby. One that you might sing when rocking a little one to sleep, or when just doing mundane chores when all alone… It makes me think like a child again when everything becomes complicated and chaotic and stressful: “I must tell Jesus All of my troubles, He is a kind, Compassionate friend. If I but ask Him, He will deliver, Make of my troubles Quickly an end.”
Reading this old hymn helps me remember, I am a child of the Father in heaven, He’s sent His son for me. Maybe in the words, ‘make of my trials quickly to end’ the end is in seeking Jesus like never before! Not being satisfied with a distant and surface relationship anymore. Maybe the end of the trial, which might go on for a while, is in fellowship with the anointed One who knows me and cares, moment by moment, praying ‘without ceasing’, talking to Jesus, telling Him ALL: “O how the world to evil allures me. O how my heart Is tempted to sin. I must tell Jesus And He will help me, Over the world The victory win.
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear My burdens alone. I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.”
That I might run closer to the heals of my Shepherd!
“Lord, tune my heart! It becomes easily ‘out of tune’ by the trials of the day. Tune me to run to the ‘Name of the LORD’ who is my strong tower, the Shepherd of my soul, my Maker, my Friend that sticks even closer than a brother. You already know my trials, but You want me to tell them to You anyway. You want me to ‘be as a child’, and maybe that’s just not so bad. Peace floods in like a comfortable hug when I sing Hoffman’s words:
“I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone. I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus…Jesus can help me, Jesus can heal, Jesus can help me, Jesus alone!”
But, then I see my biggest problem. Do I believe Him ‘in this?’ Even ‘in this’, do I believe? Do I believe Jesus can hear me? Do I really believe that Jesus can heal me? Maybe the question is, “DO I BELIEVE Jesus, EVEN IN THIS?
Maybe what I really need to tell Jesus is “INCREASE my faith in… ‘Jesus alone!’
Elisha A Hoffman had some favorite verses, they were given in the story as well: (1Peter 5:6-7)”Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” This is what I’m to do! This is what I will do. One minute at a time,
‘I must tell Jesus’ my doubts, my fears, my angers through the years, ‘I must tell Jesus,’ Jesus can help me, Jesus ALONE!’ Thank you Elisha A Hoffman, I need the simplicity of these very words because You can see that ‘I cannot bear these burdens alone!’ ‘I must tell Jesus, Jesus can heal me, Jesus ALONE!’