Sometimes painful life experiences can teach us things we didn’t realize we needed to know.

Scot Longyear was a well-loved pastor, father, and friend. He was personable and likable. But by his own admission, he was short on genuine compassion. It wasn’t intentional, it just seemed to be the way he was wired.

When a friend or a member of his congregation would share about a struggle they were experiencing, Scot heard and cared at the moment, but he didn’t really engage with that person or their suffering.

One phone call began an experience which changed Scot’s heart.

Scot and his wife were invited to join his siblings and his parents on a cruise to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. When they were just miles away from boarding the ship, Scot’s wife received the phone call.

Her mother had been dealing with some health issues which were, to this point, undiagnosed.  The call delivered the devastating news that she had cancer, and it was stage 4 with a very grim prognosis.

The diagnosis began a battle familiar to those who have dealt with cancer: trying various forms of treatment, experimental drugs, hoping for a cure, and finally a decision to stop treatment. From diagnosis to death, it was only 4 short months.

Losing Scot’s mother-in-law was heartbreaking and it sent ripples of pain and anxiety throughout their family. Scot began to deal with fear and worry in levels he’d never experienced before.

The unrelenting stress caused weight loss and a general sense of walking around in a fog. It seemed God was distant and He was ignoring their prayers.

As Scot watched his family experience the fallout from cancer and death, he cried out to God. He was broken in ways he had never experienced before, and his heart began to change in ways it never had before.

Hear Scot Longyear’s story in Chapter 48 of Epic.

Learning compassion from pain

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