Formations 07.16.2023: Isaiah’s Impossible Mission

Isaiah 6

Dead Reckoning: Part One, the seventh film in the Mission: Impossible series, released just a few days ago on July 12. Part Two comes out next year in June. In each of these films, Ethan Hunt, an agent for the fictional Impossible Missions Force, faces a—you got it—mission that is impossible. Of course, it’s only seemingly impossible because Hunt always manages to overcome the opposition and survive for another mission.

Audiences enjoy these films because they’re suspenseful, action-packed, sometimes funny and romantic, and always exciting. Also, we understand that the title is ironic since, no matter how many horrible things happen along the way, the mission is actually not impossible at all.

Isaiah’s version of “mission: impossible” is a bit different. There are no car chases, gunfights, or threats of nuclear war. There is no handsome movie star to save the day. But what Isaiah sees is no less exciting. Rather than a helicopter hijacking or a fiery explosion, Isaiah sees the hem of God’s robe, six-winged seraphs, and an altar of glowing coals. In short, he is in the presence of the glory of Almighty God. What could be more exciting than that?

His mission, too, seems impossible. God gives Isaiah instructions on what to prophesy to the people in need of redemption, and then God says this prophecy won’t work. The people won’t hear, won’t change, won’t believe. But notice Isaiah’s response: “How long, O Lord?” (v. 11). The mission seems impossible, but Isaiah is willing to do it anyway—for as long as God says to do it. Even in desolation, there is hope that this mission will indeed be accomplished, no matter how long it takes. After everything falls, a stump remains, and Isaiah indicates that something about it is still holy (v. 13).

Our mission as Christians—to love God and love people (see Matt 22:34-40)—can seem impossible, especially considering the deep divisions between different groups of people. But let us not lose hope. Let us, like Isaiah, simply ask, “How long?” and resolve to keep loving as long as God says to love. Because “for God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26).


• Why do you think the film series is titled Mission: Impossible if that isn’t really true?
• What is exciting about seeing a film hero succeed in spite of all the odds?
• When you read the description of God’s temple and throne, how do you picture Isaiah’s images? What feelings would you have if you saw these things and heard the voice of God as Isaiah did?
• Why might God give Isaiah such an impossible mission?
• How can you strengthen your courage and persistence in sharing the love of God when it seems impossible?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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