I heard a story once about a man who fell in a hole. He tried and tried to get out, but eventually gave up. A long time later, a friend of his saw him down in the hole and yelled down "do you need help?" The man was so excited and hoped that his friend would get a ladder or a rope; but was flabbergasted when his friend jumped into the hole. "Now we are both stuck!" said the man. But his friend looked at him with compassion and said, "I've been at my rock bottom too and I know the way out"
I've used this little story (which reminds me of a parable Jesus might tell) to people who feel like they have no hope. Maybe their marriage is falling apart, or their drinking got out of control or any number of issues...but they feel like there is no hope and that nobody cares.
My goal in those moments is not to "fix" the problem (often the solution seems quite easy to those of us on the outside looking in) but to be there for them and let that know that we care.
If you, or someone you know, is in "the pits" maybe the best thing they can hear is "I care and I'll be there for you"...but even better than saying it is doing it! So invite them out for coffee or go over to their house to visit. Don't go with an agenda, but just to listen and empathize.
Proverbs 17:17 says "A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity."
Pastor Scott McDermid