Ouch. God is pruning a lot of people I know. Ouch. He just pruned me. It was a branch of laziness--sleeping in later than I should-- I really liked that branch, it made me feel good. But I guess it wasn't producing much fruit. Well, I know it wasn't. (That's my time in the morning to spend with God before anyone else wakes up. The time when he can plant the most seeds, and I sleep through it. And I wonder why I don't have much to give throughout the day? Perhaps because I'm missing my time to be filled and fueled).
How is he pruning you? I'm going to guess (an educated guess, of course) that the hardship you're facing right now is FORCING you to do things that you know you SHOULD have been doing all along. Things like praying, being responsible, considering others before yourself, budgeting, etc. Well, that's exactly what pruning is. It forces a tree to quit spending valuable energy and resources on branches that don't produce anything.
I think God prunes us sometimes, and we accept it, but then after it's over, we try to go back and find the branch he cut off and put it back on. Any tree would tell you that's ridiculous. And yet we do it.
This is a new year. Perhaps you just faced the hardest year ever in 2009. Perhaps 2010 is looking daunting. I challenge you to accept God's pruning, let the unfruitful branches die, and focus your time and energy on the things that will produce fruit.
For me it's going to be reading the Word. Studying the Bible. Waking up early to let it permeate me. That lazy branch is going to have to wither and die, but I'm cool with that. 2010's going to be a lot better without that dead weight, and I can't wait till harvest time.
God, prune me. I give you permission. And help me let the old branches die. Help me to love as you have loved.