Walking on Water – A Book Review
When Simon Peter accepted the invitation of Jesus to step out of his fishing boat to walk on water, he unwittingly gave author, Darrell McKerlie, the title for a book. Darrell’s Walking on Water – following Jesus through fear and faith gives a quick clue to the thrust of this beautifully presented book. It is about Darrell’s acceptance of the same call of Jesus to a life of trust, risk, joy and anxiety. It’s all there – easy to read and with a treasure trove of stunning photos.
Walking on Water is really a conversation between Darrell and us, his readers. Just as yarns between friends often wander easily from one topic to another, Darrell lifts the lid on his journey: from his years as a young person right on to the highs and lows of the many years which have followed. It is a wonderful mix with simple yet profound reflections tied to Scripture along the way. These are the truly engaging reflections of a man with a great heart for Jesus and people.
In a curious way, Darrell’s passion for driving buses flavours the flow of the book. It is not just his journey; it becomes ours too. There are many captivating destinations, from his early life, to his sense of call to ministry, his years of preparation, his marriage to Pam and the arrival of his family, his pastoral leadership of congregations in three States.
What makes this book so hard to put down is the reality of it all. Darrell is not a super saint who has made every post a winner. He is an Aussie bloke daring to go “outside the square.” In a day when we tend to hail celebrity leaders, it is very encouraging, indeed very uplifting, to discover both the joys and the difficulties, the setbacks which accompany a serious response to the invitation of Jesus to serve Him. Just like Simon Peter, Darrell has had to cope with the ebb and flow of his own life, the unexpected swells which can so easily swamp our grand plans.
Of all the joys Darrell records, right up there are the remarkable accounts of his ministry among refugees and asylum seekers when he was pastor of the Broome Baptist Church. Their hunger for spiritual meaning and purpose, their diligent enquiry about what it means to follow Jesus and Darrell’s responses as a pastor are all touching and deeply moving. Here we are blessed with a rich insight into the pain, danger and loneliness of trying to reach Australia. This is not your average media report. Far from it. There is no hype here. Just people trying to find a new location and a new way of life. These accounts will make you think.
Thank you Darrell for your invitation to get on board! To travel through your life with you! Thanks for being you. Down to earth. Feet on the ground. Trusting Jesus. Taking the blessings of life along with the disappointments and setbacks too. All in about equal measure. You are prompting all of us to step out in faith and look our fears in the eye – at the invitation of the same Jesus who held Simon Peter’s hand, and yours, and who is ready to hold our hands too!
Reviewed by Rev John Simpson, former General Superintendent Baptist Union of Victoria