Bethany's Gage Diffee had his plan all laid out.
Air Force Academy to become a pilot. Walk on with the Falcons' football team as a receiver. Major in behavioral sciences, maybe add a Master's degree to pursue a career in family counseling.
In his eyes, the path was clear. But as his parents have always taught him, his plan isn't the one that matters.
“God had a different plan for me,” Diffee said with the genuine smile that rarely leaves his face.
In the spring, Diffee learned that he hadn't been appointed into the Air Force Academy, so he fell back on his secondary plan to play football at Southern Nazarene.
“On the first day of offseason workouts, I tore my ACL,” he said. “It's been an interesting journey. I felt like the Lord closed some doors, but caused some new doors to be opened.
“At first, it was easy to get down on myself. I knew if I had gotten the appointment, then I wouldn't have torn my ACL. But I know the Lord had a plan the whole time. I know he's got greater things in mind than I do.”
Diffee had to miss the All-State football game last month because of the injury, and he'll have to redshirt his first season at SNU.
Along the way, some of his other plans have taken a new turn as well.
“The Lord has called me to ministry, and I know that's why he closed the door on the Air Force, because I was heading in a completely different direction,” Diffee said. “I'm majoring in ministry and theology. I'm applying for my local minister's license. It's awesome; I'm so excited about it.”
He hopes to be working out again by Jan. 1 and fully cleared for next year's spring practice. And though it might seem Diffee's whole world collapsed around him, he isn't looking back at the frustrations of what could have gone differently.
“I'm content with what's happened, and I know I can't let things like this take my joy,” he said. “The only real constant is change, so you can't put your hope in the things of this world. The Lord has really shown me lately that if I put my hope in him, I can have an unwavering joy that doesn't depend on happenings.”