Walking through an apple orchard in the fall is a singular experience - not at all the same as traipsing through a grape vineyard or English garden (although those have their own individual beauty). The air is crisp and quiet; the leaves crunch under foot; the apples stud the trees like juicy rubies - you want to pick them, yet at the same time, you also want to stand beneath and stare at their majesty for a while. A sense of abundance and life pervades an orchard.
Several years ago, after a particularly difficult time in my life, all of these thoughts were crossing my mind as I made my way through a family apple orchard. The orchard hadn't been well taken care of that year, so I was trudging through knee-high grass, picking rather haphazardly. I happened to look up to see that a very large branch of one of the apple trees had been broken - either by lightening or wind. Surprisingly, the end of the broken branch was still flowering and actually had good-sized apples on it. In that moment, God said to my heart, "See, I can bear fruit even in brokenness."
It took me a period of years and some serious study to fully understand how spiritual fruit can be borne out of, or in, brokenness. Brokenness is an act of the will that enables a person to be humble and contrite in heart and spirit despite outward circumstances; to have an understanding that one is spiritually bankrupt apart from God. It is the destruction of our self will that results in compliance with - and submission to - God, and it results in our being dependent on God himself and NOT in our self or in our own works. Brokenness can be caused by life circumstances or decided upon by an individual as a way of life, but either way, it results in intimacy with God and, in many cases, revival (either personal or corporate).
Don't get me wrong, though - becoming "broken" can be a long, painful, scarring process, especially for those of us (me) who have pride issues. As Nancy Leigh DeMoss so aptly describes in her book Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, "We want a painless Pentecost; we want a 'laughing' revival. We want gain without pain; we want the resurrection without going through the grave; we want life without experiencing death; we want a crown without going by way of the Cross. But in God's economy, the way up is down. You and I will never meet God in revival until we first meet Him in brokenness."
If you are experiencing a period of brokenness in your life right now, I know that it is easy to become angry with God and discouraged - I've been there (and will undoubtedly be there again at some point). Read 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel - dwell on the contrasting lives of the broken David and the prideful, rebellious King Saul. From the lives of these two men, it is obvious that God uses both the broken and unbroken to accomplish His will. However, those who are broken are obedient to God's will and can enjoy His peace because of it. Also, in time, like the apples on the broken branch, your brokenness has the capability of becoming much-needed nourishment to another soul.