Meet Kevin Briggs, the “Guardian of the Golden Gate”

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Meet the “Guardian of the Golden Gate”

March 18, 2024 -

In this Aug. 3, 2021 photo retired California Highway Patrol officer Kevin Briggs poses below the Golden Gate Bridge near Sausalito, Calif. Briggs responded to many suicide attempts on the Golden Gate Bridge during his career. He met Kevin Berthia in 2005 when Berthia attempted suicide and now the two speak nationally about suicide prevention. Briggs joined the CHP in 1990 and began responding to emergencies on the bridge in 1994, where he would work with people in crisis four to six times a month. He retired in 2013. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

In this Aug. 3, 2021 photo retired California Highway Patrol officer Kevin Briggs poses below the Golden Gate Bridge near Sausalito, Calif. Briggs responded to many suicide attempts on the Golden Gate Bridge during his career. He met Kevin Berthia in 2005 when Berthia attempted suicide and now the two speak nationally about suicide prevention. Briggs joined the CHP in 1990 and began responding to emergencies on the bridge in 1994, where he would work with people in crisis four to six times a month. He retired in 2013. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

In this Aug. 3, 2021 photo retired California Highway Patrol officer Kevin Briggs poses below the Golden Gate Bridge near Sausalito, Calif. Briggs responded to many suicide attempts on the Golden Gate Bridge during his career. He met Kevin Berthia in 2005 when Berthia attempted suicide and now the two speak nationally about suicide prevention. Briggs joined the CHP in 1990 and began responding to emergencies on the bridge in 1994, where he would work with people in crisis four to six times a month. He retired in 2013. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Do you sometimes wonder if your life can make a real difference in a world like ours? If so, meet Kevin Briggs, a former California highway patrol officer who now serves in a different capacity: stopping people from dying by suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge.

When he finds someone preparing to jump from the bridge to their death, Briggs usually starts a conversation with them by asking how they are doing and then asking about their plans for the following day. If they don’t have such plans, he tries to make plans with them, inviting them to come back to the bridge if their plan does not work out at the end of the day. With this approach, he has kept more than two hundred people from taking their lives.

As one example, he spent sixty minutes with a man named Kevin Berthia convincing him to climb back over a rail on the bridge. Kevin went on to marry and have multiple children. Briggs has earned the nickname “Guardian of the Golden Gate” for his life-saving efforts.

Putin wins Russia’s rigged election

Over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin won a rigged election to ensure six more years of autocratic rule. However, as the Economist reports, “Mr. Putin’s ambitions pose a long-term threat that goes far beyond Ukraine” by spreading discord in Africa and the Middle East, threatening NATO, supporting North Korea, seeking to put nuclear weapons in space, and threatening to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia’s “sovereignty and independence.”

Meanwhile, as Ramadan continues for the world’s 1.9 billion Muslims, demographers predict that the global Muslim population will grow more than twice as fast as the world population over the coming years. (For a practical resource on helping your children respond to Ramadan from a biblical worldview, please see this article on our Christian Parenting website.) This while the percentage of Christians in America is predicted to decline to less than half our population.

One other story caught my eye: the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus is spreading more aggressively than ever before in wild birds and marine mammals, raising the risk that it will evolve into a bigger threat to humans. This while the intense backlash against the muddled US response to COVID-19 could leave us less ready for the next pandemic, if and when it arrives.

Obviously, you and I do not have the personal resources to solve these problems. But we can respond to them in ways that honor our Lord and advance his kingdom. To do so, we need to choose a paradoxical approach to fear, one that enlivens our faith and empowers our witness.

Asking a faith question in a zoo

I visited a local zoo with three of my grandchildren recently, where we stopped in front of the crocodile habitat, standing just a few feet from two very large and rather terrifying reptiles. However, we felt no fear of them because the barricade separating them from us was stronger than they were (or so we hoped).

Standing there, I reflected on the Lord’s warning to Job with regard to such a beast, “Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again!” (Job 41:8). Our experience led me to this question:

If we fear something in creation, how much more should we fear its Creator?

The Lord asked my question: “No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me?” (v. 10). The Creator is more omnipotent than any beast or any human, as he “cuts off the spirit of princes” and “is to be feared by the kings of the earth” (Psalm 76:12).

All this to say, if we are afraid of Vladimir Putin, we should fear far more the One to whom he will answer one day. If we fear our fellow humans or anything else in nature, we should fear more the King who rules them and the entire universe.

We revere and honor our Savior as our Lord and King by submitting to his Spirit and fulfilling his call in his power (Acts 1:8; Ephesians 5:18). He then empowers us to change our broken world one broken person at a time (Matthew 5:13–16). He uses us to rescue those who are perishing physically and especially spiritually.

And every place we go and every person we meet becomes our “Golden Gate” of opportunity to use the present moment for eternal significance.

“Invited to share the riches of paradise”

You and I can live with such significance not only because Christ will lead and empower us but because Christ lives in us and works through us. Those who have been “born again” now share in Jesus’ nature by his indwelling Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), producing the “fruit” (Galatians 5:22–23) that manifest his character to the world (Romans 8:29). We are now literally the “body of Christ” in the world (1 Corinthians 12:27).

St. Leo the Great (AD 400–61) expressed our new life in Christ more eloquently than I can:

No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that rages against him. How much more does it bring to those who turn to him in repentance.

Ignorance has been destroyed, obstinacy has been overcome. The sacred blood of Christ has quenched the flaming sword that barred access to the tree of life. The age-old night of sin has given place to the true light.

The Christian people are invited to share the riches of paradise. All who have been reborn have the way open before them to return to their native land from which they had been exiled.

St. Leo then asked, “Who does not share a common nature with Christ if he has welcomed Christ, who took our nature, and is reborn in the Spirit through whom Christ was conceived?”

How will you express your “common nature with Christ” today?

Monday news to know

Quote for the day

“Victory over all the circumstances of life comes not by might, nor by power, but by a practical confidence in God and by allowing his Spirit to dwell in our hearts and control our actions and emotions.” —Eric Liddell

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