Waiting for Dr. McGuigan and God

By Rev. Dr. Bobbie McKay  •  December 15, 2022

In the “olden” days, before all the electronic miracles that consume our lives today, there was a phenomenon that doesn’t exist today. It was utterly reliable, reasonable, and powerful and every mother and father in our community participated in this miracle of care and love. 

These were the days when pediatricians made house calls, whenever they finished their regular office hours, on families who had sick children who needed to be seen by a medical person. The message was deeply reassuring: “Dr. McGuigan will stop on his way home from work”. Whenever those words were spoken, an audible sigh of gratitude released the tension of illness. Everything would be OK when the doctor arrived. There was never a question of the outcome. 

Preparing for the Doctor

And so the preparation began. The patient, always one of the children, was settled as comfortably as possible on the couch in the family room. The family room was cleaned up and all unnecessary games, toys and other paraphernalia removed to a hidden place somewhere else in the house. The patient and one or two parents and an assortment of other children in the family took their places as witnesses to the “healing” that would surely come when Dr. McGuigan arrived. The outcome was never in doubt.

The anticipation grew as the minutes passed. The patient could feel the release of tension and immediately began to feel better. We all waited knowing that when Dr. McGuigan arrived he would diagnose the problem; prescribe treatment and medication if necessary and life would automatically return to normal. 

It wasn’t so much that he had magic powers. It was just that we believed that Dr. McGuigan knew everything about illness and he knew how to “fix” any situation requiring medical attention. He was our family’s best friend, most knowledgeable ally and he was 100% reliable in the treatment of any disease.

His Medical Bag

The medical bag he always carried contained the instruments of his profession. When he sat down on the couch next to the patient and opened his bag, you knew that any problem would be immediately resolved. Audible sighs were heard in the next few moments as the doctor examined his patient. The relief of his presence could be felt as a current of love passed through the room.

We knew that Dr. McGuigan would restore health and peace to the family. He was a God-like figure who deeply cared about his patient and the entire family. He was our best friend, strongest health ally and he knew how to make us “better”!

When the problem was diagnosed, he would ask to use our phone to call the local pharmacy to order appropriate medications. Then he would pat the patient and reassure the gathered family that all would be well. The family responded with a collective sigh of relief. Once again, life could return to normal. The fears that illness always provokes were washed away by the reassurances of our medical expert who was always right.

Problem Resolved

Our medical problem resolved, Dr. McGuigan would close his bag of medical tools; smile and look around at the gathered family who sat waiting for any further pronouncements he had to make. We knew he had other calls to make so we thanked him for his wisdom and care and watched as he got into his car to go to the next home where people were waiting.

We never lost our confidence that Dr. McGuigan could resolve any medical problem we brought to his attention. We always believed he cared about us enough to extend his day to bring his healing presence into our lives. He was entirely trustworthy and his wisdom was as reliable as the coming of the next day. 

Waiting for God

As we enter this Advent and Christmas season, we are waiting for God to arrive as surely as we waited for our Dr. McGuigan. And God’s “bag” is filled with words like love and hope; new life and promise; and the reality of God’s Presence. We are not alone in this troubled world of disease and war; poverty and pain. 

We are God’s family and we need to prepare for God’s arrival. In trust and in confidence, we wait for those moments when God becomes “real”. We recognize the reality of “God with us” in unexpected signs of care and love. We listen for God’s Presence in the words that tell the story of God’s arrival in the world. We see God in the love that “surpasses all understanding”.

And then the “impossible” becomes “possible”. The “dream” becomes a “new reality” and we are born again in love and wisdom. Praise God. Love Restored. God Real. All is Well. Christ is Born. Hallelujah! Amen.

About the Author

Rev. Dr. Bobbie McKay

Rev. Bobbie McKay, Ph.D., is a UCC minister, author and licensed psychologist. Rev. McKay cocreated the Spiritual Health Center, NFP, and conducted a research study on spiritual life in the United Church of Christ. Based on the findings of this study, Spiritual Life Teams were born, and the study has been extended to the Episcopal church, the Catholic church and the Reform Jewish Community in the greater Chicago area as well as to Islamic populations in New York, Illinois and Florida. Rev. McKay currently works as pastoral associate in Spiritual Life at Glenview Community Church in Glenview, Illinois.

View all articles by Rev. Dr. Bobbie McKay