BYU physics and astronomy professor Gus Hart pulled from his arsenal of scientific analogies and touching personal anecdotes to deliver a devotional on God’s plans for His children and students’ spiritual resiliency on June 13.
He shared the facts of the universe, galaxy and planet Earth that tend to make audiences feel small. According to Hart, millions of galaxies and billions of stars can demonstrate God’s love for us.
“I believe God is patient. The time He took to prepare the universe and this Earth, arranging for humankind, for his children, is astonishing,” Hart said.
He also shared the story of his mission call and the continued impacts his two-year journey to Japan had on his life. Hart was originally reluctant to travel to a foreign place and learn an unfamiliar language, but he can now recognize God’s hand in his life.
“Japan was God’s plan; it wasn’t my plan. I would find out it was a better plan, a much better plan — how much my missionary service impacted my future,” Hart said.
Upon returning to the U.S. and beginning his academic career at BYU, he experimented with seven majors and landed on physics. Hart jokingly admitted his theoretical and unintentional contribution towards modern-day BYU major-changing policies.
Hart also expressed his firm belief that everyone, including BYU students, “has something to contribute” and these contributions come from consistency.
He demonstrated the “power of little by little” through his shared journey of learning to play the classical guitar as an adult.
“A few years ago, while I was still busy being a bishop, dad, husband and professor, I felt Heaven’s nudge. It was time to finally learn guitar, something my Heavenly Father knew would bring me fulfillment,” Hart said.
Hart also used the Book of Mormon example of Corianton, who strayed from his father Alma’s orders as a missionary and fell into serious transgression, exemplifying Godly forgiveness from sin. He cited Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk from May 2012.
“However far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines,” Holland said.
The power of the smile was another major point during the devotional address. Hart knows a simple smile is not the solution to all life’s problems, but through his personal experience and revelation he found his worries and inadequacies could be alleviated through trust in the Lord and a smile to acknowledge it.
“But when I smile, my own weakness is the lens I need to see others clearly, to see them and love them as people, like me, who are a mix of good and bad traits — still trying to become the people they want to be, but not quite there yet,” Hart said.
Hart concluded with his testimony.
“I believe in a Heavenly Father who loves you and I, and knows us personally,” Hart said. “I believe in you, your divine potential, your capacity for good, your unique mission to make the world better. Go be amazing!”