Poetry has never been my thing. I tolerated memorizing poems in grade school, I forced myself to write a research paper on Alfred Lord Tennyson in college, and I muddled my way through Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” in an attempt to add some culture to my life. Truth be told, Bullwinkle’s Poetry Corner is more my speed.

I have one exception. I’ve always thought Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven was … intriguing. It was first published this week (January 29, 1845) and it tells the story of a man who is grieving the death of his beloved Lenore. He seems to waver between clinging to her memory and desiring to forget her.

The mysterious raven enters his house, but the only word the bird ever says is, “Nevermore.” The narrator begins to wonder if God sent the bird to tell him he can forget Lenore. But the raven says, “Nevermore.” The man will never be freed from his painful memories.

The narrator then asks the raven if he will then be reunited with Lenore in heaven. And the raven says—you guessed it—”Nevermore.” The narrator demands the raven leave his presence, but the bird stays. The narrator concludes that he will remain here: despondently under the shadow of this wretched bird.

“And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!”

The last line of The Raven

That’s where Poe leaves the narrator of the poem. Despondent on the floor, pulled down because the things he desires will not be given. Everything he seeks is “Nevermore.”

I just offered the world’s shortest summation and explanation of The Raven. The Internet is overrun with others’ analyses, but I encourage you just to read the poem for yourself. This was not Poe’s intent, but as a follower of Christ, I can’t help but see this unnamed narrator’s plight as the plight of many Christians and would-be Christ-followers. It’s not a raven who comes to us, but the devil. Satan often whispers in our ears the one word of the raven:


When we wonder:

“Can God love me even after I’ve sinned?”

Satan whispers, “Nevermore.”

“I know God loves me, but I’ve come to Him time after time with the same sin. Will He forgive me one more time?”

Satan whispers, “Nevermore.”

“God may have forgiven me, but can He really use me after what I’ve done?”

Satan whispers, “Nevermore.”

Satan wants us to live defeated lives, lying under the shadow of his accusations. But the truth we must recognize is that God loves us far more than we realize. He desires to forgive us far more than we want to be forgiven. He wants to set us free from guilt and false accusations; He wants us to live powerfully, abundantly, and victoriously.

To doubt God’s love or to assume He won’t forgive this time is to deny the power of the cross of Christ. Jesus died to remove the power of your sin, the penalty of your sin, and the guilt of your sin. To doubt God desires to use you or work through you is to deny the reality and power of the resurrection of Christ. Death is defeated, and His resurrection gives you new life as well. He places His Holy Spirit in those He has forgiven, and He will use you if you let Him.

Nevermore let Satan whisper, “Nevermore.”

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