One of the most amazing events during World War Two was that a small Italian village called San Giovanni Rotondo never was bombed. The Allied forces tried to eliminate a German base there several times, but they never succeeded. The reason? All the pilots who flew near the village suddenly saw a monk who stretched out his hands towards them, signing that he wanted them to turn back.
General Bernardo Rosini of the United Air Command reported that
“Each time that the pilots returned from their missions, they spoke of this Friar that appeared in the sky and diverted their airplanes, making them turn back. Everyone was talking about these incredible stories. But since the episodes kept recurring, the Commanding General of USAF General Nathan F. Twining, who happened to be in Bari, decided to pilot himself a squadron of bombers to destroy a target near San Giovanni Rotondo.
“When he and his pilots were in the vicinity of the target, they saw the figure of a monk with upraised hands appear in the sky. The bombs got loose from the plains falling in open areas, and the planes made a sharp turn to return to base without the pilots intervening.
“Back on the ground, everybody asked everybody else about the happening and wanted to know who was that friar. The General was told about Padre Pio and decided to visit him with the pilots in that squadron. The pilots immediately recognized Padre Pio, and he told the general: “So you are the one that wanted to destroy everything.”
Isn’t this amazing? Now, I’m neither a Catholic nor a supporter of the German forces in WW2, but I do believe that the Holy Spirit is active among all who confess that Jesus is Lord, and I do believe that He wants to end violence and spread enemy love. You see, this testimony shows that miracles are effective tools for nonviolent peacemaking. Every Christian pacifist should embrace the gifts of the Spirit.
This is obvious in the Scriptures. When a mobb tried to push Jesus down a cliff, He suddenly could wall through it without anyone doing Him harm (Luke 4). When He was arrested in Gethsemane and Peter cut off a guy’s ear, Jesus healed it (Luke 22). And when Paul was persecuting the church with the goal to eliminate it completely, Jesus stopped him through a supernatural revelation and healing and turned him into a missionary (Acts 9).
Thus, when I see the current escalations of both the Gaza/Israel and the Congo conflicts, I desperately pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that His peaceful gifts may stop the violence. I don’t know why God doesn’t always intervene, but I know that we have to pray that He does it more. Violence, walls and sanctions cannot produce sustainable peace in these lands. But revival can.