The hymn Does Jesus Care? was written in 1900 by a Methodist minister named Frank Ellsworth Graeff. He was born in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania on December 19, 1860, and felt led into the pastoral ministry at an early age. He became known as “Mr. Sunshine” or “the sunshine minister” because of his optimistic attitude. C. Austin Miles, the author of the hymn In the Garden, wrote this about Pastor Graeff:
However, there was a point in Pastor Graeff’s life where all was not sunshine. At one point he went through a terrible and heartbreaking trial which drove him into despair and hopelessness. Frank Graeff wrote of that time,
My whole attitude had become one of despair and defeat; and because of this, I was living a life of unhappiness and failure. With each passing day, I fell deeper and deeper into that slough of despair until finally, I felt I could stand it no longer."
Though all around him seemed dark and unhappy, Pastor Graeff reciprocated with the proper response – he turned to Scripture. 1 Peter 5:7 became a key text in encouraging the despairing pastor. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” Pastor Graeff came to the fresh realization that Jesus cared for him! As the Lord put a new song into the heart of despair, the words to the hymn Does Jesus Care? overflowed. Each of the four stanzas asks a question which is answered by the triumphant refrain, “Oh yes He cares; I know He cares!”
Pastor Frank Graeff died in New Jersey on July 29, 1919. He wrote around 200 hymns and authored one novel.
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth and song;
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
Oh, yes, He cares; I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Saviour cares.
Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades
Does He care enough to be near?
Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief I find no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks-
Is it aught to Him? Does He care?
Music written by J. Lincoln Hall