Playdates with God: What Ought to Be

The medical students and volunteers who helped with the medical outreach.
“I thought that in order to help people, I had to go to medical school,” she said to me, with a smile. “But Missy has shown me that anyone can help.”
We were down by the river, surrounded by a makeshift tent city hastily erected that morning. This is where some of the medical students of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine come once a month to provide free medical care to those in need. Along with checkups, social services, eye examinations, immunizations and other medical procedures, those who come are served breakfast and a lot of love.
My new friend Missy invited me to come and help out this past Saturday. Her passion to help the homeless population in the area is contagious, and I understood what this young medical student meant when she said Missy inspired her. I was grateful to be part of such a needed ministry, in any small way.
Since I was a new volunteer, I was put in the registration tent. All I had to do was talk to each person and fill out a little paper work. 
“These people have often been marginalized. They’ve been treated so poorly sometimes that they won’t seek the help they need,” Missy said to the newbies as she explained the registration procedure to us. “It’s really important to show them respect. Just talk to them.” 
And since ours were the first faces in the process, hospitality needed to shine. But how do you make a person feel welcome when all you have is a tent and a metal folding chair? It didn’t take long to see that the amenities were inconsequential. But something happens when you sit down with a stranger and look them in the eye. When you smile and aren’t afraid to touch a shoulder. Just the sitting down together changes the mood. And offering a person a seat in the shade might earn one a most grateful smile. We had to get folks through the line and on to the docs but I wondered about their stories. I wished I had more time to listen. 
There was too much to see it all. Follow up appointments were made, glasses were given out, people reclined in the shade with bottles of water. And the blue of the sky dipped down to color each moment, the warm of the sun seemed to radiate the love of all those busy hands. 
I looked out over the diverse congregation and this was my prayer: Lord, help us change what is into what ought to be. 
Only love. Only love can do this.

*The winner of the signed copy of Paula Huston’s  A Land Without Sin is janetb1! Janet, I’m not sure how to get in touch with you but I’ll do some sleuthing to see if I can find you. If you see this before you hear from me, email me at

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:


  1. Elizabeth says

    Laura, hard to believe that though we have never met, and I feel we have, I know you to have the gift of hospitality. And mercy. And tenderness. You were in the perfect place for your gifts, loving on strangers in need of your thoughtful gaze. Love this write, friend. So much. You touching a shoulder and touching a heart.

  2. bluecottonmemory says

    Love makes all the difference. I just finished reading the Hiding Place this weekend – and oh, my, what love can do! You said it perfectly: “Lord, help us change what is into what ought to be” – beautiful prayer to start me week with!

  3. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    Oh, dear friend, this reminds of a day we went to feed a class of a school in a black township. These dear children we grateful for the food, BUT they came to me with arms outstretched and just wanted to be hugged. Oh, Laura, that broke my heart! Oh, that Pappa will fill our hearts with His love for a love starved world. Thanks for this, dear friend, it really touched my heart.
    Blessings XX

  4. says

    Laura, knowing that people do not seek the help they need because they have felt rejected or humiliated so often is heart breaking. I pray that I may have the compassion of our Heavenly Father to reach out in love and change these lives with love, if even for just a moment.
    Thank you for making us aware.

  5. soulstops says

    Dear Laura,
    Echoing your prayer… yes, there is a soul hunger to be seen and to be respected…as much a need as food…thank you for loving the individuals you met that day 🙂

  6. pastordt says

    Just beautiful, Laura. I’m totally referring to you and to this story in my small sermon for this next Sunday on Luke 14 – extending hospitality to the unlikely, the folks on the margins. Thanks for this on many levels tonight!!

  7. says

    That prayer is a powerful one, friend. So much of the loving is in the seeing, I think. A prayer I murmur often is- “Lord help me to see this person as YOU do”- And when He answers that, it always changes me. It changes everything.

  8. OutnumberedMom says

    Love does it…yes, it does. Thanks for putting feet to the gospel!
    I’m late to the party this week, but glad to be here, Laura.

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