Bill and Marie Eddy on lockdown

Guille and María Ester with their granddaughter

We’ve been friends with a very special couple for years, Guille and María Ester (known in the US as Bill and Marie). Their daughters are very close friends of our daughter; María Ester’s mother took care of my daughter until she was three years old while I went out to work. We’ve shared many experiences and adventures over the years. The latest was María Ester’s birthday celebration. My husband and I went over later, but our daughter was there for the actual party together with my friends’ brothers, daughters, son-in-law, granddaughter, nieces and nephews. I mention this because this close contact would give me pause for thought not long afterwards when almost all her family fell sick with the virus… some were seriously ill. Had we caught it too? I was already feeling ill by then, but I only ever had mild symptoms and my husband and daughter are fine, for which we feel extremely grateful.

But the news about the Eddy Sánchez family went from bad to worse. All around the world, their relations, friends and acquaintances were praying to God for their healing. Several members of the family will share their experiences on my blog. We thank God that all of them have now recovered and are back home.

María Ester talks about what those weeks were like for her.

“Let me curl up by Your side,
You who know all about sleeping through the storm.
May Your whisper calm my fears
and silence my many questions.
Let me hide beneath Your cloak;
I’m afraid, my Beloved.”

In a matter of days, the national lockdown seemed like a minor issue compared to the personal storm that was unleashed. First, it was my husband; a few days later, I started to have symptoms. At the same time, two of my brothers, my sisters-in-law, two nephews, my mother, two of my daughters and my son-in-law were also affected by the virus… my brothers, my mother and one of my sisters-in-law all ended up in hospital. The rest of us were in isolation, going through the sickness while fearing for the lives of those who were in hospital and crying out to God with the little strength we had left after the exhaustion of Covid-19.

Guille and María Ester with their family.
All except two from this photo had the virus.

“God was close. His peace has been stronger than the fear and the lack of answers.”

Everything happened very quickly. There was no time to weigh our decisions. Every phone call from an unidentified number made my heart beat faster, fearing that it would bring even worse news. The many other calls, messages and demonstrations of love have upheld me like manna in the desert. And most of all His Word. It has been my anchor when my boat was almost capsizing and only by holding on to His promise have I been able to keep my head above water every day. That promise that I read before all this began and that, at the time, I didn’t want to believe would become so vital:

“When he calls out to me, I will answer him. I will be with him in his distress. I will deliver him, and I will honour him.”

Psalm 91:15

I had no idea my level of anguish would be so great, but God was close to me every second of the way. I didn’t realise the recovery phase would be so long either, but God has continued to sustain me.

I am grateful, overwhelmed, and at the same time, confused. Now I’m living through the rest of the lockdown. All of my family have recovered, by God’s grace, an undeserved grace that has sustained us and that I cannot fully understand… we know we could well have died, just as so many other friends are dying at this time, and yet, in his unexplainable sovereignty here we are, still holding on to His Word every day, because this war isn’t over yet.

María Ester Sánchez Núñez

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