Mama Goat and Billy Goat

Faith to trust God through hardship.


billy goatBilly Goat followed Mama Goat down the road.

Mama Goat looked back. “Billy Goat, follow me, and we’ll go to a big field where the grass is tall and green! To get there we have to climb the hill in front of us.”

Billy Goat looked up at the steep hill. A narrow path wound back and forth, sometimes disappearing behind boulders, and sometimes disappearing altogether in its precipitous ascent.

“Do you really expect me to go up there?”

“Yes, I do. Follow me, and watch where I step. Trust me.”

“I’m not going up that steep hill.” Billy Goat stood stubbornly with his head lowered.

“Why will you not trust me?” Mama Goat asked.

But Billy Goat would not answer.

They walked up the gently climbing road until they reached a canyon with a river below. A footbridge hung from the edge of the road to the other side. It swayed in the wind, and some of the boards hung broken and dangling.

“We can cross this bridge,” said Mama Goat. “Watch where I step and do just the same. Don’t look down, just look at me.”

Billy goat stopped at the edge of the canyon and looked down. His legs quivered and he backed up. “Do you really think I’ll cross that bridge?”

Mama Goat shook her head. “Why will you not trust me?” But Billy Goat would not answer.

They continued up the road, and Billy Goat sang, “See how nice the road is! I knew it would be better than that rickety bridge.”

But Mama Goat was quiet.

Around a bend in the road came the sound of a rushing river. Mama Goat stopped and looked.

“Come, Billy Goat,” she said. “We can cross here. Stay right next to me, and I’ll break the force of the current for you. Be careful and listen to where I tell you to step.”

Billy Goat backed onto the road. “No.” He shook his head. “I’m not crossing that river.”

“Why will you not trust me?” Mama Goat sighed.

They walked up the gently climbing road.

Billy Goat looked up and saw a lush green field. Tall grass waved in patterns of the wind. Swaying flowers dotted the placid pasture.

“Hey! Let’s go there! I’ll trust you!”

“That is where I was trying to take you,” Mama Goat said. “And it is not the place for trust. It is the place for rest. You can only go there by climbing the hill or crossing the rickety bridge or wading through the river.”

Billy Goat went to the edge of the road and looked more carefully. On the other side of the rushing river, the field lay on top of the steep hill they had faced at the beginning.

He turned back to the road. “Oh, well,” he said. “Where does this road lead?”

“You’ll find out.”

“At least it won’t be hard.” And he began to sing.

But Mama Goat was quiet.

As they walked on, the road seemed to go nowhere and only grew steeper, rougher, and full of boulders and potholes.

“Hey!” Billy Goat protested. “I thought this road would be easier!”

Mama Goat sighed. “You did, didn’t you?”


For Thought and Discussion

  • The door to blessing sometimes comes disguised as a problem. How is that true for Billy Goat? How has that been true for you? In what specific way, if any, has following Christ’s way proven to be better than going your own way or following the ways of the world?


  • Numbers 13 and 14 describe how the Israelites explore the Promised Land, then in fear they rebel and do not enter it. Compare this with Hebrews 4, which exhorts us to make every effort to enter the “Sabbath rest for the people of God.” How do you think one makes such an effort? Have you experienced the peace and rest of God that only comes after trusting in Him?


  • Read Hebrews 12:7–8,11, which describes how hardship is God’s discipline that leads to righteousness and peace. What then should be our response to God when we face difficulty? In what situation could you apply that right now?

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