Mechanical engineering professor encourages students to let God guide and mold them to navigate life

BYU mechanical engineering professor Christopher A. Mattson addresses BYU students on Tuesday about trusting in the Lord and letting Him guide and mold them as they navigate life and make important decisions. (Andrea Zapata)

BYU mechanical engineering professor Christopher A. Mattson urged BYU students to trust in the Lord and let Him guide and mold them as they navigate life and make important decisions.

Mattson’s July 19 devotional focused on teaching students how they can design their lives in a creative way by making their own choices, while also letting the Lord be a part of it to guide them through challenges.

Mattson began his address by talking about the story of the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon, and explained how they trusted the Lord during their 344-day journey across the open sea.

“Crossing the sea was difficult for them,” he said. “They were hit by overwhelming storms and mountainous waves. But their trust in the Lord carried them through, and when they finally made it to shore, they bowed themselves down on the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.”

Mattson said the Jaredite journey can be interpreted as an analogy to people’s lives and the ups and downs they face. He explained the main message of the story how to make it though the storms of life, knowing where to turn for strength and about “recognizing God’s blessings even when things are tough.” He also said this story has helped him trust in the Lord and put his struggles in context even when things seemed to be turning upside down.

Mattson said the boat in this story represents the vehicle with which students experience life’s journey, such as their individual characters, their attitude, their resilience, their priorities, talents and habits.

“I want as much guidance as I can get in designing my life and building my metaphorical boat!” Mattson said. “And where better to run for guidance than the enduring accounts in the scriptures? They are time tested, non-trendy, powerful and they are the word of God.”

“In our life’s journey each of us will face metaphorical storms, even terrible tempests, ferocious winds, and mountainous waves,” he said. “We will need to be good boat builders, for we need strong boats that can hold up to the storms and get us where we need to go.”

Mattson then shared six ways students can become “better boat builders,” citing the Book of Mormon and the experiences of the brother of Jared and of Nephi.

Mattson said to be better boat builders, students need to: (1) let the Lord lead them in their construction, (2) amplify their natural abilities by using the tools available to them, (3) seek for a reasonably well-balanced construction, (4) have and ask good questions, seeking answers from truth-filled sources, (5) search the scriptures for answers, and liken them unto them and (6) trust in the Lord and commend themselves to His perfect care.

BYU mechanical engineering professor Christopher A. Mattson and his wife wait for the devotional to begin on July 19. Mattson spoke about the importance of trusting in the Lord and letting Him guide and mold them as they navigate life and make decisions. (Andrea Zapata)

Mattson finished his devotional address by sharing his testimony and by reminding students about why the boat they take on life’s journey matters, as it will determine how they experience life’s storms.

“It is my prayer that we may all have the foresight, faith and courage to let the Savior be the author and finisher of our story,” Mattson said. “To let Him be the master architect, and a cherished partner in the construction of our boats, and that we may all enjoy the fruits of a successful journey together.”

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