The Tears of a Clown

This weeks podcast, at the bottom of this article, is called, “Romance!”

The phrase, “The Tears of a Clown” came to mind recently and ever since I’ve wanted to write a Coffee Stain about it. I don’t know why, but the power of the contrast in those words touched me.

The only problem is, I couldn’t really think of a spiritual application. Like any good pastor looking for a sermon to go with his great illustration, I didn’t let that stop me. I even found a “Tears of A Clown” scripture.

“Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and joy may end in grief.” Prov. 14:13 (NIV)

A little research revealed that “Tears of a Clown” was a number one hit in 1970 by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (that information didn’t actually advance my search for a spiritual application very much).

Part of the lyrics whine, “…you’re gone and I’m hurting so bad, like a clown I pretend to be glad. Now there’s some sad things known to man but ain’t too much sadder than the tears of a clown, when there’s no one around…” Smokey Robinson words/Stevie Wonder music.

Should I pass the crying towel?

You can’t always tell what’s behind a smiley face can you? Some 80 years ago Rudolph Krb, a German clown who for many years had delighted children all over Europe, put a gun to his head and blew his brains out. He had abandoned clowning when cancer marred his face and he found it increasing difficult to make ends meet in post World War I Germany.

“Even in laughter the heart may ache…”

Everyone Feels Pain

Sometimes we ignore people’s hurts because we can’t imagine they would have pain. The rich man mustn’t weep because his money takes care of him. The pastor’s wife must never feel loneliness, because she’s so spiritual. That friend at church who has it all together and is constantly laughing and encouraging others? He never cries does he?

Of course he does. Of course they do. And God puts us here to respond to pain and suffering because when we hurt, He hurts. He wants us to be His hands extended to a suffering world. Look around. Even if she seems like she got everything together—who knows what’s behind the make-up?

So what can I do to help?

Be sensitive to the Spirit and He will often tell you when someone is hurting. Once Jesus noticed a blind beggar sitting by the road. Most people never paid any attention to him. Blind beggars in the Jerusalem of that time were part of the furniture, so numerous that usually you didn’t even notice them much. Sometimes you woke up and pitched a couple of coins into their cup. Helped the conscience.
Jesus saw him though. He SAW him. To those who criticized his Sabbath day healing Jesus responded,

“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” (John 5:19, 20 NIV).

He was sensitive to people’s needs and when the Father said, “Get involved!” He did it without question.

We can also pray faithfully for our tearful clowns. When everything gets tallied up in heaven, we’re going to be amazed at the difference our prayers made (and maybe frustrated to see what a difference our lack of prayer made in a negative sense).

Encourage those who hurt. Listen to them. Share what God’s Word says but in a sensitive, caring way. Often we whip out our standard scriptures at tear time without even thinking. It doesn’t come from the heart, but from some religious library in our head. “Here’s what you’re supposed to say to the family when someone dies. Here’s the response when someone loses his job. Here’s a scripture for when …”

That can come off sounding plastic instead of real.

Make yourself available and actively enter that person’s life. Don’t become his crutch or he will never get well. He has to learn to walk again after the tears are gone, but be there to steady him and exhort him when he wants to sit down and stop.

Be aware spiritually. The Lord Jesus looks for people to dry clown tears.

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