HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) - The Connecticut school shooting tragedy was on the minds of many who were worshipping Sunday, with local pastors and their churches wrestling with difficult questions on faith, God and good versus evil.
One of the most heinous criminal acts in American history stirred up an age-old question for many local Christians: Where was God, and why did he allow the school massacre to happen? Rock Family Worship Center Associate Pastor Dave Melendez said the question is one he's heard and discussed many times over this past weekend.
"It's a struggle, it's a struggle for all of us," said Melendez, whose church was one of many in the area that took time to pray for the shooting victims during Sunday services. "There's always that sense that if God was there he would have stopped something like this."
Melendez said the horrific killing of innocent children, and God's whereabouts during it, all tie back to the Biblical concept of mankind's fallen nature and the freedom to choose.
"God gave us all a free will," said Melendez. "He gave mankind that free will, and we choose to do right things or wrong things, and unfortunately we have to deal with those consequences. But that doesn't change the reality of the fact that he is there and he is present."
Some local believers said the school tragedy is also raising concerns about America's overall spiritual condition, and its increasing tendency toward mass murder. Pastor Melendez said the disturbing trend is connected to conscious decisions that have removed God and prayer from much of public life.
"We as a nation are wrestling with a lot of very important spiritual issues as it relates to life and the value of life," said Melendez. "We want people to live by a certain set of values and a moral code, but yet we seem resistant to allow that to be emphasized in the places where it can really be used most, in the lives of our young people and school... They need the comfort God can bring. They need the strength only God can give."